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HARVARD 
COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 



^ 



f£6 6W 



Under Love's 

It II Rule* 




4JNE)ER LOVES RULE. 



BY THE AUTHOR OF 
"LADY AUDLEY'S SECRET," "LONDON PRIDE," Etc 



LONDON 
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO. 

LIMITED 
STATIONERS' HALL COURT 

1897 
{Ali rights fturved] 



v.i^t(si.lo,.iS 



a:^tj-if^-3>j). i€ 




Lh: '-y 
APR 17 1963 



LONDON: 
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWBS AND SONS, UMITBD, 
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 

I. The Children's Hour 

IL How THE Rich Live ... 

III. Fo&^the Blue Ribbon 

IV. A Cloud of Fear 
V. T£te de Linotte ... 

VL Not all Sunshine 

VII. What the Doctor said 

VIII. The Children's Playfellow ... 

IX. A Summer Island ... 

X. Dora perceives a Divided Duty 

XI. Making the Best of it ... 

XII. Mrs. Lerwick philosophizes ... 

XIII. In the Golden Autumn ... 

XIV. In Deep Waters 

XV. Without Rudder or Compass 

XVI. Kissing the Rod 

XVIL Not without Friends 

XVIII. Sweet Uses of Adversity 



LlSaARY 



FEB 



PAGS 
I 

22 

44 
6i 

76 

86 

99 
109 

126 

>S4 

J79 
186 

196 
216 
230 

«47 
269 
278 




UNDER LOVE'S RULE. 



CHAPTER L 

THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. 

It was teatime all over London ; and it was the 
children's hour at No. lOO, Palatine Square. 

The children's hour. The words used to sound 
very pretty from the rosy lips of Mrs. Lerwick, the 
children's mother. 

'* Five o'clock is the children's hour," she would 
say. "They always have tea with me — when I 
am at home." 

"The worst of it is that there are so few 
*whens,'" Eustace, the eldest of the three boys, 
would complain sometimes. 

For once in a way mother was at home. It was 



^ Under Love's Rule. 

early in the season, and the room seemed full of a 
pale yellowness — the yellow of Lent lilies, the pale, 
faint gold of an April sun. It was mother's 
morning room — on the second floor in Palatine 
Square; and the flowers, the tables loaded with 
silver toys, the Indian draperies, and tall painted 
leather screen— on which Court beauties and Court 
fops, after Watteau, danced a formal dance in a 
formal garden — made up a prettier picture than the 
spacious drawing-rooms below, with their six lofty 
windows, and blue satin curtains, and immaculate 
chintz chair-covers, and general air of being meant 
for company. Here the chair-covers were always 
tumbled, the draperies were tossed about any- 
how, and there were generally dogs on the 
sofas. 

Eustace, Paul, and Fritz loved the room ; for it 
was the only room in Palatine Square in which 
they ever felt that their mother really belonged to 
them and they to hen In the country they saw 
her nearly every day. They ran behind her cart 
when she drove her Norwegian ponies, dined now 
and then at her luncheon-table, rode their shelties 



The Children's Hour. 3 

to the meet with her when she made believe to 
follow the hounds ; but in London mother was 
busy, with an air of incessant occupation which 
the Prime Minister himself could not have ex- 
ceeded. This afternoon, even, though the tea- 
tables had been set out ten minutes ago, mother's 
work was not quite finished. 

She was sitting close to the fender, with a 
blotting-pad on her knee, filling in cards for her 
first musical evening, as fast as her active little 
hand could scribble the names. She had been 
paying visits in the afternoon, and had not long 
exchanged the triple armour of her fashion* 
able visiting-gown for a picturesque arrangement 
of soft Indian silk, in which she could loll at ease 
in a chair that was as near the ground as a chair 
could be. Mother loved low seats; and Fritz 
loved to crawl over the back of mother's chair, and 
descend, an avalanche of boy, flaxen head down- 
wards, into mother's lap. 

Fritz was the baby— not quite six years old— - 
and allowed to do what he liked in mother's room 
and in mother's presence* In mother's absence he 



Under Love's Rule. 

dropped finom pet and playtha^ into die positioa 
of a troublesome little boy, who was openly spoken 
of by die boosehold as a 'yoang Toii^ and spoilt 
by bis mar till he was beyond beara^." 

Stade — die ddest — was at Elstre^ and re- 
ported very h^;faly of himself in the cricket-field ; 
bot in the matter of lessons, as compared with 
certain saps and smugs amcMig his schoolfellows, 
he owned to being "thick." He had visions of 
growing up to be a £unous cricketer, invited all 
over England for the sake of his prowess in the 
field. Nor did he think ill of himself at the 
rougher sport of ''footer," which occupied most 
of his thoughts in the winter terms. 

Paul was educated at home by a morning 
governess, whom he hated ; not because she was 
unkind to him, but because it was a low thing for 
a boy to be taught by an old woman. Fritz had 
not yet achieved so much as a spelling acquaint- 
ance with the alphabet, in spite of all mechanical 
aid in the shape of ivory letters, picture-books, 
bricks, puzzles, and instructive games, and in 
defiance of the patient drudgery of a pale young 



The Children's Hour. 5 

person in the upper story, who was called a 
nurseiy governess, and treated like a nursemaid. 

Of course the boys had nicknames. Eustace 
was Stacie. Paul was Poppy with his family, 
but with no one else ; for he was one of those 
boys who are always more grown up than the 
grown-up people about them, and with whom the 
use of a pet name would seem an unwarrantable 
liberty. Fritz was Fluff— so named on account 
of curly hair which was in colour and texture 
like silkworm's silk, but which had been cut as 
short aS'Sanison's before his fourth birthday. 

" More 'vitations, mammy ? " asked Fluff, sprawl- 
ing on his stomach at his mother's feet while she 
wrote. 

•* Yes, darling." 

" What a lot of parties you do give ! " 

" People are obliged to entertain, pet, if they go 

out as much as I do." 

**To enter what?" inquired. Fluff, lifting up 

wondering blue eyes to the busy writer. 

" To entertain — ^to give parties — ^you intelligent 

duck ! " leaning down to kiss the top of his flaxen 



Under Love's Rule. 



spniing 



now seewhatyotfvemadcmcdo!"* 

On, mammy, I didn't make yon kiss me — you 
did it off 3^nr own baf* 

The tea-tilings had been in the room a quarter 

of an hour. Stade and Paul had been talking 

m a distant window, but a tempting odour of 

toasted bun having crept through the room, 

juvenile appetites were stimulated, and the two elder 

bo5rs began to think it was time something should 

be done to draw motiier^s attention to their wants. 

" Stacie,** Paul b^an, •* which do you like best, 

tea or ginger beer ? ** 

" Ginger beer is the best after cricket ; but I Ve 
heard that some people like tea at five o'clock in 
the afternoon," Stacie replied, rather loudly and 
distincUy. 

After this audacity botii the boys became 
explosive with smothered laughter; but Mrs. 
Lerwick went on scribbling, her pretty, fair head 
tending low over her blotting-pad, unconscious of 
this pointed dialogue. 

*" Well, there's one advantage about ginger beer," 



The Children's Hour. 7 

argued Stacie, a little louder than before. ''A 
boy can run to the refreshment-tent and buy it 
for himself; but you can't run out into Palatine 
Square and buy a cup of tea.'' 

This last indirect appeal aroused Mrs. Lerwick. 

''Oh, you impatient creatures, in a hurry for 
jrour tea I " 

*' Not in a hurry, mums, but we like our tea best 
when it ain't quite cold." 

**! haven't half finished my cards. You are 
such impatient children! Here is this darling 
Fluff as quiet as a lamb ! " 

She rose hastily, scattering a shower of cards 
and envelopes, and exposing the patient Fluff, who 
was lying on her silken train luxuriously devouring 
a large slice of pound cake. 

** A perfect lamb ! " exclaimed Stacie,. pointing 
the finger of scorn. *' That's the second piece. 
Pop and I have been watching him." 

•'And the only tea-gown I care for is all over 
crumbs and candied peel," protested Mrs. Lierwick. 

" Fluff was so hungry," pleaded the youngest, 
bis mouth stuffed with cake. 



8 Under Love's Rule. 

" My poor darling 1 Did hi^ cruel mother keep 
him waiting ? Come, boys. I am nearly fainting 
for want of my tea. But those cards have to be 
ready for the eight o'clock post" 

The four sat crowding round the tea-table. 
Mother^s low chair was particularly inconvenient 
for pouring out tea, but the boys helped her^ and 
though there was a good 'deal of milk spilt in the 
tea-tray, they got on capitally. Cake, buns, bread- 
and-butter disappeared with astounding rapidity. 
IStacie and Fop told anecdotes — ^the elder of his 
masters at Elstree, the younger of base tricks 
played on his erudite and elderly governess. 

Mother turned a smiling face to each, and tried 
to look as if she were listening intently ; and, as 
she was expected only to listen, she was not found 
out 

Presently the boys began to ask questions. 

" Where's father to-day ? " 

" Out of town," mother answered carelessly. 

** But where?" 

"Somewhere where there's racing. I thiok he 
had to go by the Great JJorth^rn/' 



The Children's Hour. 9 

"Newmarket, of course," said Stacie. "The 
Craven Meeting. Is he going to pull off anything 
this time ? " 

Mr. Lerwick was distinctly of the turf, turfy ; 
and his eldest son might have heard more turf 
talk than is altogether good for a schoolboy. 

"Oh! I've no idea," replied mother, abso- 
lutely indifferent "His two-year-olds generally 
seem to lose." ^ 

"And so do his three-year-olds," said Stacie. 
" I*m ashamed of my name at Elstree when I iind 
how little confidence any one has in my father's 
stable. Ward major groaned when he drew 
Madame Angot in our Leger sweep, for he knew 
the mare belonged to father." 

" Oh, but he can't be always unlucky. I hope 
he will win the Derby this year." 

"With Gasometer? " asked Paul. 

"Or with Badmash. Badmash is the horse he 
believes in." 

"Why, there's 25 to i offered against both of 
them," cried Eustace, contemptuously. 

Mr. L.erwick's experiences on the turf heretofore 



lo Under Love's Rule. 

had not been cheerful He had backed his 
own horses with gentlemanlike confidence in his 
own judgment and his own stable ; and people 
knew that whatever Mr, Lerwick's horses were 
not, they were always ** meant" His colours im- 
plied good faith, and a kind of careless honesty 
as of a man who could afford to losa 

It was popularly reported of Mr. Lerwick that 
his income was of such an expansive figure that 
he did not know how rich he was. He had in<p 
herited the chief interest in a great commercial 
house in the iron country, which had progressed by 
leaps and bounds under the new order of things in 
which success and failure are for the most part on 
a Titanic scale. It was supposed that his income 
flowed in upon him in a golden stream, whose 
force increased as the years rolled oa Let him 
spend as lavishly as he pleased — ^be as unlucky 
with his horses as hard Fate willed — ^he could 
never come to the end of the income produced by 
his share in Lerwick and Ca Here was no ques- 
tion of a Jubilee Plunger inheriting a quarter of a 
million. The wealth of Lerwick and Co. was an 



The Children's Hour. ii 

endless web of bank paper, of which no mind 
could conceive the exhaustion. 

In order to assist him in the business of a life 
of pleasure, Anthony Lerwick had married one 
of the prettiest dibutantes of her year — and, 
perhaps, also, one of the silliest ; a fresh young 
beauty from Devonshire, launched in the choicest 
monied circles by a wealthy widowed aunt, and 
enjoying her first season as a butterfly enjoys 
his first flight among the roses. Ellinor Lerwick's 
admirers were all agreed that she was much too 
pretty to be clever, and they liked her better so, 
being for the most part" golden youth, who had 
been more distinguished on the river than in the 
schools. She was quite intelligent enough for 
her husband, who would have been bored to 
death by a clever wife, and would have exiled 
himself for life in Central Africa rather than 
endure the companionship of a strong-minded 
woman. Of anything that could be called mind 
in a woman Tony had a dislike which was akin 
to absolute fear; indeed, from mind masculine 
as well as from mind feminine he shrank with 



V 



12 Under Love's Rule. 

unconcealed aversion. The society he liked best 
was to be found in the saddle-room, the gun-room, 
his trainer's cottage, or among the blue-jackets 
on his yacht That a man should seek enter- 
tainment in the inside of a book seemed to him 
as extraordinary as that a solitary prisoner should 
make spiders or mice his companions. The things 
he liked were the things he could see, touch, 
and understand — horses, dogs, guns, boats. He 
could not appreciate a joke that was not of the 
practical kind. The men he liked were men of 
his own calibre. The only woman he liked was 
his wife. 

As a husband, Tony Lerwick stood out from 
the ruck — a first prize in^e matrimonial lottery. 
He admired his wife as much fourteen years 
after marriage as he had admired his girlish 
bride blushing under a cloud of tulle. In his 
eyes those years had only made her lovelier. 
She had not disappointed him as some of his 
horses had done, by growing coarse instead of fine. 
She had ^ furnished " just in the right degree ; and 
her figure, in acquiring a womanly plumpness, 



The Children's Hour. 13 

had retained all the grace of her girlhood. His 
Nellie could do no wrong. She was the prettiest i 
thoroughbred in his stables. She could not be' 
too extravagant, too frivolous, too selfish to 
please him. All that she did, all that she said, 
found favour in those indulgent eyes. 

Mrs. Lerwick went back to her nest by the 
fire and her batch of invitation cards ever so long 
before the boys had finished tea. The children's 
hour had resolved itself — so far as maternal com- 
panionship goes — into the children's ten minutes« 
Again the pretty fair head bent itself over the 
blotting-pad, and the busy pen scribbled and 
scampered along. 

The boys went on chattering in low voices. 
They emptied the dish of toasted buns, about 
which there was more coagulated butter than a 
careful nurse would approve; but it was the 
nurse's hour as well as the children's hour, and 
the custodian of the little boys' health was 
at the bottom of the house gossiping over cups 
and saucers with the housekeeper and the French 
maid. 



14 Under Love's Rule. 

When the dishes and the teapot were empty, 
and there was a terrible mess in the tea-tray, 
Fluff suddenly wearied of the entertainment 

"May we go to the Surbiton and sail our 
boats, mummy ? " he asked ; but the pen rushed 
on, and he had to repeat the question several times 
in an ascending treble before it was answered. 

The Surbiton was Fluff for Serpentine. Fluff 
had a prodigious command of the English tongue, 
but he was not particular about details, and 
proper names were often beyond his limits. 

"No, darling, it is too late," came the tardy 
answer. 

"No, it ain't too late!" 

" Yes, loveliest, it will be dark in half an hour. 
You know you never go out after tea at this 
time of the year.*\ 

" That's Tommy rot ! " cried Fluff. 

The fair head started up with a jerk of horror, 
but reproof was addressed to the quarter where it 
is least expected. 

* Eustace, this is your doing. You bring this 
horrid language from Elstree." 



The Children's Hour. 15 

^ If I do« it's useful to all of us/' said Eustace, 
accustomed to have other people's sins laid upon 
his shoulders. "I heard you tell the Governor 
that the last novel you read was Tommy " 

"No^ Eustace, not Tommy," interjected Paul, 
who was the most serious of the three, made grave 
bej^nd his years by the overshadowing of his 
governess's mature intellect "Mother only said 
utter rot— not Tommy." 

** I'm very sorry I ever used such a disgraceful 
word," exclaimed mother, and then concluded with 
withering emphasis, " or that I should have a son 
rude enough to remind me that I was capable of 
being vulgar." 

Eustace jumped up from the tea-table with a 
vehemence that made the cups and saucers 
rattle. 

" That's what always happens when Fluff does 
anything wrong," he said, marching to the door. 
" I get blamed for it" 

He slammed the door behind him ; and the doors 
in Palatine Square are solid six-panelled doors, the 
banging whereof resounds from basement to garret 



1 6 Under Love's Rule. 

** What a temper ! " sighed Mrs. Lerwick, despair- 
ingly. ** He is becoming positively unmanage- 
able." 

Such a little spurt of temper on Eustace's part 
was not an uncommon occurrence in Palatine 
Square; though at Elstree he was reckoned one 
of the best-tempered fellows in the school. Sooth 
to say, Mr. Lerwick's eldest son and heir did not 
get the best of it in the family circle. As the 
eldest, and as a schoolboy, he was supposed to be 
harder than his younger brothers, and his hard* 
ness was tested by a good many hard knocks. 
He had never pretended to be as clever as Paul- 
had always been willing to be the second, not the 
first — ^and had freely owned that at school he was 
called ''thick," such thickness being taken to 
stand for intellectual inferiority. And so even 
Fluff learnt somehow to laugh at his eldest 
brother's deficiencies — or, at least, to laugh at 
Paul's jokes about them. 

And yet what would those juniors have done 
without the schoolboy ? Who was it taught them 



The Children's Houn 17 

which of all the sammer's cricket matches and all 
the winter's football matches were worth being 
excited about? Who was it told them the relative 
strength of Eton and Harrow— of Blackheath and 
Richmond? Why, Eustace, of course; for even 
that brilliant Tandy, past master of all turf know- 
ledge, was no authority upon cricket, and scarcely 
knew the difference between Rugger and Socker, 
and, indeed, owned that he *' took no stock " of 
either game. 

What would their vocabulary have been like 
without Eustace ? Mere nursery talk, the language 
of boys given over to the teaching of women. 
Without Eustace they would not have known that 
money was " oof,** and that a boy who had half a 
crown a week pocket-money was an ** oof-bird.** 
Unenlightened by Eustace, they would have gone 
on talking about " sovereigns '* instead of calling 
those'^useful coins Squids'* or "thick 'uns;** nor 
would they ever have acquired the manly habit 
of terminating every noun substantive with the 
syllable -er, Tandy had been useful to them ; 
but though Tandy was a young man of vast 



1 8 Under Love's Rule. 

judgment, he lacked language, and expressed his 
deepest thoughts by a significant action of the eye 
and eyebrow, or a long low whistle^ rather than by 
words. 

Thus, had it not been for Eustace and those 
fresh breathings of boyish life that he brought 
from Elstree, Paul and Fluff might have talked 
like babies long after they were in trowsers. 

Fluff had removed himself to the other end of 
the room, out of the path of the storm, and had 
taken all the silver toys off one of his mother's 
favourite tables, and was sitting on the floor 
making railway trains with them — sl harpsichord, 
two armchairs, a bird-cage, a bedstead, a sofa — all 
hooked together and pushed along the velvet 
pile at express speed by Fluff's dexterous little 
hands. 

"Miss Warren says you don't know how to 
manage any of us ; I heard her tell Perry so," 
said Paul, who was seated luxuriously in a large 
armchair, brooding. 

" Then she told Perry something that's not true, 



The Children's Hour. 19 

and if Miss Warren indulges in insolent remarks 
about me she will be dismissed at the end of the 
quarter." 

^ I wish you would dismiss her, and let me go to 
Elstree mth Eustace/' 

** Yes, and come home a coarse rough bear, like 
Eustace, thinking and talking of nothing but 
cricket" 

" Well, I can't go on for ever learning of an old 
woman," groaned Paul. '' I know more Latin than 
Eustace, and Tm a book further on in Euclid. 
Why shouldn't I go to Elstree next term ? " 

''Because it's quite enough to have one schoolboy 
in the family," protested Mrs. Lerwick, who had 
allowed her sons to flutter her spirits considerably, 
so that it was all she could do to put her cards 
into the right envelopes, and manipulate the gold- 
handled stamp-damper without messing the thick 
" Royal Family " paper. 

''I'm sure I sometimes wish you could have 
always remained babies," she murmured presently, 
when the last envelope was scaled. 

"Perhaps you would have liked us never to 



20 Undfer Love's Rule. 

be born," said Paul "That would have been 
still more convenient'' 

Tears sprang to the pretty blue eyes — ^those 
blue eyes which FlufTs so exactly matched — and 
Mrs. Lerwick started up in a little burst of wounded 
feeling. 

**You are a heartless boy/' she exclaimed. 
" Ever so much worse than your brother. He only 
slams doors ; you try to hurt one's feelings." 

** Oh, dear ! " groaned Paul " I only answered 
your own remark. Look at Fluff. He's playing 
old gooseberry with your silver." 

There was an exclamation, and a rustle of silken 
skirts across the floor. The toys were rescued, 
Fluff was slapped — ^a very small slap, which pro- 
duced a very big squall. Electric bells were rung 
—bells that rang downstairs — ^bells that rang up- 
stairs. Nursery governess and footman rushed 
to the rescue, and Fluff went off like Eugene 
Aram, between two sturdy custodians. Paul 
picked himself listlessly out of a nest of satin 
pillows and Japanese antimacassars, and moved 
slowly towards the door. 



The Children's Hour. 2t 

" When is the little Auntie coming again ? " he 
asked. 

" Not till we go back to Heatherside." 

«And when will that be?" 

" Why, not till the end of the season, child. We 
have only just come to town." 

** Only just ! It seems ages since we came 1 I 
hate London." 

And thus without a word of farewell the last of 
the three departed to his own kingdom in the 
attics. Two had left in wrath and one in silence, 
and so ended the children's hour. 

Pretty Mrs. Lerwick sat down on the carpet 
and picked up the silver toys one by one with a 
rueful visage. Delicate little corners were bent, 
the threads of the 'cello were broken, a leg of the 
harpsichord was doubled up, the airy, fairy roof of 
the bird-cage was squashed in on the tiny macaw 
that should swing below it 

'* They are quite spoilt," sighed Ellinor Lerwick, 
** and I shall never get such pretty ones again until 
wc go back to Genoa." 



22 Under Love*s Rule. 



r 

i 



CHAPTER II. 

HOW THE RICH LIVE. 

•Eustace went back to Elstree next day. He had 
come to Palatine Square for a day and a night, 
being wanted in Burlington Street by a gentleman 
whom he looked upon as one of the enemies of 
the human race — a very scientific and superior 
person, who did all sorts of disagreeable things to 
Eustace's mouth and teeth, ruthlessly extracting 
any tooth whose position offended his hypercritical 
eye. Bad as the extraction was, Eustace could 
bear that like a hero ; but worse remained behind, 
in the shape of what the dentist called ''taking 
an impression," in which process hot red wax was 
crammed into his mouth and kept there till it 
cooled, at the risk of suffocation-^the result of 
which ordeal by hot wax was a silver, or gold, or 



How the Rich Live. 23 

vulcanite plate, which made life more or less of a 
burden; while it was accounted basest villainy 
on the part of Eustace if he wore this modem 
instrument of torture in his pocket instead of on 
his jaws. 

All the morning of his brief holiday had been 
devoted to this dreary business of having his teeth 
pulled out and his mouth modelled for another 
new plate — a plate which was to exercise the 
severest pressure upon two obstinate little tusks 
which the dentist talked of learnedly as canines. 
Nobody asked Eustace whether he thought the 
game was worth the candle, or whether he would 
not just as soon keep the canines as nature made 
them. He complained that he was handed over to 
Mr. Waytwright as if he had been a black slave. 

*' Has a fellow to wait till he is twenty-one before 
he has any property in his own mouth ? ** Eustace 
asked at the breakfast-table in the schoolroom; 
but there was nobody present of sufficient learning 
to answer the question. ''Can his parents have 
a sixth-form boy strapped into a chair and 
tortured ? " 



24 Under Love's Rule. 

" Oh, Stacie, you have never been strapped ! " 
cried Fluff. 

** No, but I expect it would come to that if I 
didn't give in," said Eustace, darkly. 

"Becos if you was strapped," said Fluff, 
musingly, " I should like to be there to see." 

Eustace had been huffed yesterday at tea, but 
the sun never went down on his wrath. His 
temper was quick, but his affections were warm 
and strong. He adored the pretty fair-haired 
mother; and as he had to leave home early, 
he pleaded for an interview in mother's bed- 
room. 

She heard the voice in the corridor, and called 
out, '' Stacie, Stacie darling," and he went into the 
bright room which opened out of mother's morning 
room, with three windows overlooking the branch- 
ing limes and chestnuts in the square. He found 
her sitting up in bed in a blue silk matinie — a fair 
girlish face looking out of a nest of pale blue 
frilling and lace-trimmed pillows. 

Mrs. Lerwick was sitting up to take her morning 
chocolate, while her French maid held a review 



How the Rich Live. 25 

of gowns, tippets, fichus, and other finery, 
discoursing vivaciously as she tossed the costly 
frippery about 

** But truly Madame has nothing to wear ; this 
blue gown is altogether impossible." 

" Oh ! I am so fond of that blue surah — come 
and kiss me, Stacie — I must wear it again. It fits 
me better than anything Amelie has made for 
ages." 

''But, Madame, have the goodness to look at 
the edge of the skirt— cut to pieces." 

*• When does your train go, love ? But you can 
mend that hem, Babette." 

Babette shrugged her lean little shoulders and 
threw down the blue silk frock as if it were almost 
too foul a thing to hold any longer in her superfine 
fingers. 

''But, Madame, that soft: silk does not mend 
itself — ^there is not enough of substance to hold 
a needle." 

This meant that the blue frock was cashiered. 
Mrs. Lerwick would see it no more ; but some- 
body else would go to Hampton Court in it next 



26 Under Love's Rule. 

Sunday afternoon, escorted by one of Mr. Hunter's 
under-cooks from the famous confectioner's on the 
other side of the square. 

Stacie clambered on to a chair beside the bed, 
and gave his mother a vigorous hug. 

*' I hope you've enjoyed your holiday, dearest," 
she said, in the midst of a shower of kisses. 

"I've enjoyed seeing you — I didn't enjoy the 
dentist" 

"No, no, of course not But I want all my 
sons to be handsome." 

She looked for something on the littered table, 
where a fat, yellow-covered French novel, a mam- 
moth silver eau-de-Cologne bottle, a fan, a heap 
of letters, three lace-edged handkerchiefs, and 
the chocolate service were crowded anyhow. She 
picked a lizard-skin purse out of the jumble, and 
opened it, and a shower of gold rolled over the 
silken coverlet 

" Oh, mummy, how rich you are ! " 

She gave Eustace a couple of sovereigns, and 
had to submit to a second hug; while Babette 
picked up the rest of the gold, and placed it in 



How the Rich Live. 27 

a little pile on the dressing-table with ostentatious 
carefulness. 

"Won't I have a ripping bat," exclaimed 
Eustace and a voice called from without — 

" Now, Master Eustace, unless you want to lose 
your traia" 

" Why, of course I want to lose my train," he 
said, with a last kiss from the pretty mother, " but 
I mustn't do it," and off he ran. 

" You can put out the pink cr^pon for Sandown," 
sighed Mrs. Lerwick as she picked up the yellow- 
backed novel and twirled the leaves listlessly. 

Palatine Square, as everybody knows, is one 
of the choicest positions in West End London. 
It is an old-world square in which there are 
scarcely two houses exactly aUke. Some have 
been rebuilt and are palaces, Italian, German, 
or Early English, with roofs that aspire sky- 
wards, minarets and watch-towers, campaniles and 
clustered chimneys, loggia and oriel windows, all 
that is fantastical and expensive in architecture. 
Other houses remain just as they were under the 



28 Under Love's Rule. 

first and second George, when Palatine Square 
was young; houses so plain and homelike that 
one might fancy one's self in a country manor- 
house. Again, there are a few much smaller 
houses — a cosy little bachelor house here and 
there, squeezed in between two colossal neigh- 
bours — ^houses with a rustic-looking balcony and 
verandah, and a delicate patrician grace in their 
modest stairways, and low-ceiled rooms opening 
one into the other, altogether suggestive of those 
good old times when there were meadows and 
rural lanes north of Palatine Square, and when 
the hangman's cart might be seen on the Oxford 
Road any morning, carrying its wretched burden 
to Tyburn* 

Mr. Lerwick's house was one of the largest 
in the Square as to reception-rooms, and one 
of the worst as to bedrooms. It was an old 
house ; and though it had been gorgeously deco- 
rated and furnished at Mn Lerwick's expense, 
there had been no thought of putting on a new 
and higher roof, and letting light, space, and air 
into those terrible third-floor rooms. 



How the Rich Live. 29 

Fascinated with the lofty doable drawing-room, 
the six tall windows^ the Italian chimney-pieces, 
MrsL Lerwick had gone up to the top Aooac pre* 
disposed to be delighted with all she found 
there. 

^Oh, Tony!** she exclaimed, as she and her 
husband went upstairs, ''what a house for parties ! 
We must have it" 

*But they are asking thirty thousand for a 
forty-j^ear lease." 

•Is it much?" 

^ And the ground rent is a hundred and fifteen.** 

"That sounds very little. Those drawing- 
rooms, Tony! You must let me furnish those. 
You shall have your own way in all the rest of 
the house." 

''But, Nell, I haven't made up my mind to 
buy it" 

"But you will make up your mind I know, 
dear, when you've had another look at those 
drawing-rooms," pleaded his wife, and slim pearl- 
grey fingers twined themselves round Tony 
Lerwick's large doe-skin thumb. 



30 Under Love's Rule. 

They had newly returned from a winter*s yacht- 
ing in the Mediterranean^ and had been house- 
hunting for a week before an obsequious agent 
brought them to Palatine Square to view — ^that 
was the agent's expression — Lord Somebody's 
house^ only vacated at Christmas. 

Mrs. Lerwick tripped lightly through the upper 
roomSf holding her silken skirt off the dirty floors^ 
and looking about with a smiling casual air, 
counting the rooms as she passed through, and 
not happening to remark that there was hardly 
an inch between the ceiling and the top of her 
husband's hat 

''Eustace's bedroom," she said, pointing to a 
little room at the back. "Such a dear tiny room — 
I'll have it furnished so sweetly for him; all 
bamboo, with rose-bud chintz curtains. The day 
and night nurseries ; lovely panelled walls, and 
sweet old basket grates; and a double-bedded 
room for nurse and Miss Ferry." 

'' I thought a governess expected a room to 
herself." 

''Not Miss Ferry. She is only a nursery 



How the Rich Live. 31 

governess. One can't put up with airs from a 
person of that kind." 

^ No. But she mayn't be able to put up with 
no air," said Tony, dryly, " and 1*11 be hanged if 
she'll get much in such a dog-kennel as this, if you 
put two beds in it" 

"Dog-kennel, Tony! With that lovely Adam 
mantelpiece ! " 

** Adam won't keep her cool in the dog days," 
muttered Tony. 

But he was not strong enough either in argument 
or in will to oppose his pretty wife ; so the lease of 
the fine house in Palatine Square was bought, and 
the last modish upholsterer— who called himself 
an artist — ^was let loose in the drawing-rooms, and 
Louis Seize and a chilly severity of line being the 
rage that year, the result was more adapted to the 
tropics than to the average English summer. 
Slim straight legs of chairs and tables reflected 
themselves in a polished floor as on the surface of 
deep water ; the pale azure curtains fell in straight 
lines from the six tall windows. The rooms had 
a cold grandeur and bleak spaciousness that 



I 



32 Under Love's Rule. 

fir^^itened Fluff out of Ins babjr wits if he 
happened in his qnestof *'Mommy*tonin in and 
find only emptiness. He voold make off as fast 
as his little legs voold cany him, leavii^ the great 
half-door to swing slowly and sitentty to on its 
superior risii^-batt hinges^ as if some ghostly 
hand had closed it 

Sooth to say, though no grisly Iq^end attached 
itself to that house in Palatine Square there was 
a feeling of ghosts in some of the rooms and 
corridors whkh moved children, and even grown- 
up servant^ with sensations of vague fear* The 
shadows hung so darkly in those low-ceiled 
passages above. There were such strange closets 
—-closets within closets^ doors widiin doors; a 
ghostly back staircase which had been shut off at 
the bottom of the second flight years and years 
ago, and now only harboured mice and mustiness. 
Even Mrs. Lerwick, proud as she was of her 
drawing-rooms when her friends were grouped 
about at stately distances after a dinner-party, or 
at one of her concerts, when there was barely 
standing room— even she confessed that the rooms 



How the Rich Live, 33 

made her meUncholy when there were no people. 

It may have been partly on this account that Mrs. 

Lerwick was seldom at home of an evening without 

people. 

A London hous^ with a London mother, means 
a dull life for small boys, even if thdr shdties take 
them for an early gallop in the Row every fine 
morning, where they bucket along, much to the 
discomfiture of some of the elderly gentlemen in 
the Liver Brigade, who, jogging up and down 
quietly on their over-fed cobs, are apt to envy 
Herod his despotic power, or to regret the national 
n^lect of Malthus. 

**Pipe them kids!" cries a gutter snipe, with 
bitter emphasis, as the two boys, dressed alike in 
neat little jackets and breeches, and drab gaiters, 
and billycock hats, trot along Prince Frederick 
Street on their way to the Park. But after a week 
of such morning rides the pampered Palatine 
Square children sicken at the monotonous exercise; 
and Paul informs his friend Tandy, the children's 
groom, that all riding except to hounds is Tommy 
rot The fact that the morning ride is insisted 

D 



34 Under Love's Rule. 

on as a matter of hygiene naturally takes all the 
flavour of pleasantness out of it In Dorset- 
shire they are keen enough, for even when there 
are no hounds afoot, the furze bushes on those 
breezy commons, the ditches that divide the fields, 
afford ample scope for ^ lepping,'' to say nothing 
of a certain rural course where they can race their 
ponies while the dew is on the summer grass, and 
while the keen morning air in their shelties' nostrils 
quickens the pace and stimulates to skittishness. 

In London, Paul complains there is nothing to 
da Even the theatres to which . mother takes 
them from time to time offer but^ feeble joys — 
Tommy rot, in the shape of serious plays and 
sentimental comedy, being the dramatic staple 
at the fashionable houses, and burlesque the rare 
exception — save in the unpalatable form of comic 
opera, where the fun is swamped by the music. 

If father would take them to the music halls 
there might be something to live for ; but father 
has pledged himself not to take them, by a solemn 
promise to mother, whose lamentable ignorance is 
allied to ridiculous prejudices, and who believes 



How the Rich Live. 35 

every music hall to be a sink of iniquity, where 
wicked songs are sung to wicked people. 

** I hate the London season/' excldms Pauly with 
his shoulders sunk into the padded angle of a 
large armchair, and his navy blue legs swinging 
in space. " It's simply beastly ! " 

** You might have better reason for saying that if 
you lived in the slums at the back of the mews," 
his governess answers gravely. 

'^ No, I shouldn't, for I should have something to 
amuse me," says Paul with a tremendous emphasis 
upon the pun, of which Miss Warren takes not the 
faintest notice. *' I could keep rabbits — I could go 
into the stables whenever I liked." 

"How would you like sleeping eight in a 
room ? " 

** Can't say ! I never tried it" 

Miss Warren sighs, but her rule with boys of 
Paul's stamp is to ignore impertinence. He has 
never been able to sting her to retort or argument 
If Minerva herself had condescended to be his 
mentor that divine lady could not have held 
herself more aloof from the little world of his 



36 Under Love's Rule. 

small mind. He never has had the satisfaction 
of knowing what she thinks of him. Miss 
Warren is nearer forty than thirty. She is grave 
and pale, a neat thin figure always appropriately 
dressed. No salient point in her physiognomy 
or her attire lends itself to juvenile laughter. She 
wears no foolish feathered hat, carries no prepos- 
terous parasol or gampish umbrella. Her garments 
are neither old-fashioned nor new-fashionedj but 
of a severe simplicity that bears the stamp of a 
tailor who knows how the world is moving. 

Paul did not love his governess, but he could 
not help respecting her, and he could not help 
learning of her, and, worse, as he thought, could 
not help being interested in his work with her ; 
for she made him think as well as learn, and his 
young mind grew under her teaching. She had 
read a good deal, for a woman, and when com- 
pared with the elegant Mrs. Lerwick, who had 
forgotten all she had ever learnt in the school- 
room, Miss Warren seemed an inexhaustible 
well-spring of knowledge. 



How the Rich Live. 37 

But then Miss Warren laboured under the dis- 
advantage of being what Paul's particular friend 
Tandy, the groom, called "a plain-headed one." 
" I see your new governess this morning, Master 
Paul," said Tandy, "and she is a plain-headed 
one!" And Miss Warren laboured under the 
disadvantage of not liking dogs — in the house. 

"If she don't like 'em in the house, Master 
Paul, you bet she don't like 'em nowheres. I 
knows the kind of people as likes a dog in his 
place — and that dog's place, in them people's 
estimation, is the bottom of the river." 

Miss Warren, not liking dogs, was at once put 
down as a person of evil instincts and concealed 
vices — ^such as cruelty and treachery ; and it was 
a disconcerting thing to discover that mother's 
Spitz insisted upon adoring Miss Warren, and 
that FlufTs fox terrier, Pinchcr, had never been 
known to growl at her. 

"Spitz never had much intellect," said Paul. 
"His brains have all run to hair — ^but I didn't 
know that Pincher was little better than a fooL" 

Nobody in Palatine Square knew that in her 



3 8 Under Love's Rule. 

small way Miss Warren was a philanthropist, and 
that much of her afternoon leisure was spent in 
the slums of West End London — the insanitary 
hovels that lie hidden behind the stately streets 
of the Palatine Hill, and for which the strong 
hand of improvement waits, armed with a pick- 
axe, to lay them all low when the leases run 
out And when that day of annihilation comes, 
the little laundress, the cobbler, the servants' 
dressmaker, the jobbing tailor, the charwoman, 
and the professional beggar, will have to carry 
their rags and their sticks, their measles and 
scarlet fever far away from the Palatine neigh- 
'^ourhood, and the only shadow across the sun* 
shine of its splendour will vanish away. 

Yes, Paul respected his governess, although 

she never called him Poppy, or Paulino, as his 

'Mother did, or Poll, or Polly, as his easy-going, 

STood-natured father loved to call him. He had 

'^^de up his mind not to like her; and he was 

young person with a strong will and a resolute 

^'^per that had been fostered by eleven years 

'having his own way. No, Paul was not 



How the Rich Live. 39 

plastic. Two years ago, when he was handed 
over to Miss Warren, he had wanted to go to 
Elstree, and not to have a governess. And 
after that could he be expected to like his 
governess? It was not Miss Warren's fault but 
her misfortune that he must needs detest her to 
the end of their acquaintance. He couldn't help 
getting on under her tuition. She was so beastly 
conscientious. Everybody except himself was 
pleased with the arrangement, and Elstree and 
its cricket field were further off than ever. 

"He is ever so much cleverer than Stacie," 
said his mother. "Awfully advanced for eleven 
years old. He knows more Shakespeare than 
I do." 

Paul remarked that this was easy, as dear 
Mummy's ideas about Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, 
and Lear were somewhat mixed. 

" I believe if I told her that Hamlet smothered 
his wife, or that Macbeth*s wicked daughters 
turned him outK)f*doors in a thunderstorm, she 
wouldn't know I was greening her,'' said Paul. 

Even Tandy, the groom, had been forced to 



40 Under Love's Rule. 

admit that Miss Warren was a person of vast 
learning. 

" I never see such a pig for books, Master Paul," 
said Tandy, "she regular eats 'em. I meets her 
on the common when Fm exercisin' in Dosset, and 
she's alius got her nose in a book. Trudges along 
readin', readin', readin'. I wonder she don't let 
herself down on her knees over them hillocks." 

One redeeming virtue Miss Warren had, and it 
was a great one. She did not l^ve in the house. 
She came at nine o'clock — ^with a most odious 
regularity — and she was supposed to leave at one. 
But she was reprehensibly lax in the matter of 
departure, and had sometimes committed the in- 
justice of staying till a quarter past, in spite of 
clocks, and the broadest hints from her pupil. 
Neither in London nor in Dorsetshire did she take 
bite or sup under her employer's roof, save when — 
once in six months or so — formally invited to tea, 
to meet the curate and his wifci or Mr. Lerwick's 
land steward and his daughter. She was liberally 
paid, and the engagement suited her. In London 
she lived with her people in a back street at 



How the Rich Live. 41 

Brompton. In Dorsetshire she boarded with the 
village doctor's family, and helped the doctor by 
nursing his poorest patients. 

A London Spring, a London house, and all the 
restrictions of a London life had begun to show 
their deteriorating effect in pale cheeks and lan- 
guid limbs before May began ; and even Mrs. 
Lerwick's pretty eyes, which had so many pretty 
things to look at, observed that Fluffy had not 
quite such a nice colour as he had had at Heather- 
side, where he played about in the open air all 
day long. Paul was always headachy in town ; 
but that was put down to his superior intellect, 
and never to want of oxygen. FlufTs pallor was 
considered more alarming, and the family doctor 
was consulted, who prescribed a tonic and plenty 
of outdoor exercise ; advice which caused a good 
deal of ill-will and a good many tears on the part 
of the patient, who preferred his comer of the 
nursery floor and his tin soldiers and clockwork 
locomotives to the parks or the square. Indeed, it 
was one of the young mother's grievances that her 
darling preferred the stuffiest corner in that stuffy 



42 Under Love's Rule. 

room — with the treasures of the toy cupboard — to 
the elegant luxury of her Victoria, and could only 
be induced by bribery to accompany her in her 
afternoon drive. 

" I hate going for a drive " he grumbled^ when 
his mother sent him off to be dressed in his 
newest velvet suit for one of these afternoon 
airings. 

'* Oh, Fluff, hate going out with me ? '* 

"I ain't with you much of the time. You're 
sticking in some shop, and I have to sit outside ; 
and dirty-looking beggars come and worry ; and 
you won't let me have Pincher to bark at them." 

^ Of course I must do my shopping ; but you 
are in the open air, and that's what the doctor 
wishes. You ought to enjoy the drive in the 
Park afterwards." 

" I don't call that a drive— crawling along — for 
you to keep bowing and grinning at people, or 
standing still for young fellows to talk to you; 
and you won't let me talk to the footman." 

''Certainly not No well-behaved little boy 
would want to talk to a servant in public" 



How the Rich Live. 43 

"That's stuck-up nonsense!" said Fluff, in an 
ascending scale of naughtiness, which ends in his 
being sent to St James's Park with his nursery 
governess, in deep disgrace, but with a basket of 
bread to feed the ducks, and half a crown to 
buy a toy boat 



44 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER III. 

FOR THE BLUE RIBBON. 

Those London dajrs are so colourless and dull. 
One sultry May morning Fluffs languid legs 
become a burden too heavy to be borne, and he 
informs his mother that he wishes he were dead, 
while poor Miss Perry's reddened eyelids and 
obvious depression indicate trouble. 

On being closely questioned Miss Perry con- 
fesses that Fritz has been more than usually 
naughty that morning ; that he kicked her under 
the table all through breakfast, and that he 
obstinately refused even to look at his BJL Ba 
book. Upon which pretty Mrs. Lerwick loses 
all patience with Miss Perry. 

*'You haven't the least idea of managing a 
child. You ought to be a dressmaker's ap- 
prentice," she says pettishly, and then tries her 



For the Blue Ribbon. 45 

hand at managing Fluff by boxing his ears 
sharply, and carrying him roaring down to her 
morning room, where she gives him chocolate 
creams. 

It may be that Mrs. Lerwick herself is a little 
overstrung this morning; for this is the last 
Wednesday in May, a day of days ; and she is 
going to Epsom in a new frock for the ninth 
time in her married life, to see her husband lose 
the Derby. 

Eight times has that devoted patron of the 
turf tried for the blue ribbon — and eight times 
has hope told its flattering tale only to end 
in disappointment Tony tells himself that the 
late Mr. Merry tried and failed almost as many 
times before the canary jacket flashed past the 
winning post in front of . all competitors. He 
reminds himself of Robert Bruce and the spider. 
He says again and again : '' It's dogged as does 
it" And dogged he means to be till the race 
is won. 

Fluff sprawls on his mother's favourite sofa, 
kicking about his mother's prettiest satin pillows, 



46 Under Love's Rule. 

and sobbing in a subdued diminuendo as the 
chocolate creams melt in his mouth, and make 
little brown streaks at the corners of his pale 
lips. Mrs. Lerwick walks about in an agitated 
way; goes to her bedroom to look at the new 
frock which Babette has spread out for her 
admiration—one of those simple little frocks of 
China silk, Indian muslin, and French lace, which 
cost people in Palatine Square thirty guineas or 
sO| and look hardly worth five ; but the highest 
merit in frocks is that they should look like 
cheap simplicity and cost a great deal 

She stands before the new frock musingly — 
hardly seeing that damty vision of mauve muslin, 
white silk and Valenciennes — ^haunted by Fluff's 
face. 

*' It would be such a treat for them,** she says 
to herselC « Why not ? •* 

Mr. Lerwick looks in from his dressing-room. 

'* Fit as a fiddle i ^ he cries, waving a tel^ram. 
""We shall pull it off this time^ NeUie; and if 
he win s " 

''Ycullgivf't* ■lies?'' 



For the Blue Ribbon. 47 

" Yes, Nell, anything you like ! " 

"Fluff is not very well this morning, dear. 
Would you mind the boys going with us ? They 
have never seen a really big race — and there 
would be plenty of room on the coach.*' 

"Mind? No, of course not! Let the little 
beggars come," Lerwick answers, carelessly. " Let 
them see their father's horse win in a canter. It 
will be something for them to remember when 
they are men and have stables of their own." 

"And you really think this one will win?" 
questions his wife, with a faint sigh. 

" Think ? If s a certainty ! " 

" But he's not the favourite." 

"So much the better for us, NelL I've kept 
him as dark as I could — but the knowing ones 
have smelt out that it's a sure thing." 

The two boys were enraptured when mother 
announced the good news. Paul threw Kennedy's 
Latin Grammar up to the ceiling in the very 
midst of a deponent verb, and dismissed Miss 
Warren with a grand air. Fluff accepted the 



48 Under Love's Rule. 

ordeal of washing and dressing with smiles and 
good temper, and allowed Miss Perry to lace 
his boots without any disagreeable remarks about 
her clumsiness or the warmth of her poor little 
industrious hands, or the untidiness of her hair. 

At half-past eleven father's coach was at the 
door, and the boys were upon it, perched just 
behind the driving-box, ready for the start, though 
all the rest of the party were in the drawing- 
room talking to mother. The wine-baskets and 
food-baskets, and wraps and sun-umbrellas, and 
a great bunch of La France roses which some- 
body had brought for mother, had all been put 
inside the coach, where a couple of footmen 
were to sit in charge of them. Paul and Fritz 
waited impatiently for the other people, afraid 
that mother's usual unpunctuality would make 
them late for the. great race, till Tandy told 
them there was "no fear." Tandy was to sit 
behind with another groom, who in livery looked 
his twin brother, but in stable clothes wasn't a 
bit like him. 

At last the smart women, mother's friends, 



For the Blue Ribbon. 49 

were handed up to their, seats, some tripping 
lightly up the ladder, but two of the elder ladies 
somewhat fussy and nervous, to Fluff's secret 
amusement And then father and his friends, 
who had stopped in the dining-room for a brandy 
and soda, clambered into their places, and father 
gathered the reins into his doeskin palm, and 
the coach moved off, while Tandy and his twin 
sprang lightly up at the back, and the ** yard of 
tin " rang out over Palatine Square in a trium- 
phant blast blown by Colonel Pamby, father's 
favourite chum, who was a famous performer. 

What a delightful journey it was in the bright 
May sunshine and the fresh west wind. Mother 
and her friends complained of the dust, and 
objected because scraps of straw and London 
dirt were blown in their faces as they crossed 
the bridge by the Houses of Parliament — but 
women always find something to grumble about, 
Paul told Fluff in a whisper. 

Colonel Pamby was a delightful companion 
on a coach. He announced the names of all the 
great buildings they passed, always wrong; and 

£ 



50 Under Love's Rule. 

told the ladies the most ridiculous stories about 
everything, winking at Paul and letting him into 
the joke, as if he had been a grown man. He 
kissed his hand to maid-servants looking out of 
upper windows ; he startled quiet people upon 
the pavement in the Clapham Road by hailing 
them as old acquaintances, asking particular 
questions about their relations — whether Maria's 
rheumatism was better or Uncle Nick had 
recovered from the gout ? And when the victim 
— ^some guileless elderly lady, perhaps — looked 
up with bewildered countenance, Colonel Pamby 
blew one of his mighty blasts upon the yard of 
tin, as the coach rolled on and left the victim 
a quarter of a mile behind before she had time 
to think. 

Father was a famous whip— indeed, it was the 
one thing which he was supposed to do best in 
the world; and except when they almost drove 
over a nturse and perambulator near Kennington 
Park, neither Paul nor Fluff had any fear, though 
the fine team of upstanding browns seemed 
to devour the road betu'een Kennington and 



For the Blue Ribbon. 51 

Mitcham. At Mitcham they had a fresh team 
— grays and chestnuts — ^which had been sent on 
over-night, so they drove on to the downs in 
spanking style; and they felt that every eye 
was upon them ; eyes that admired and envied, 
as father steered the coach cleverly into the 
place that had been engaged for it 

" I know what you want, boys," cried Colonel 
Pamby, in his strong, jovial voice ; •' you want a 
brandy and soda to wash down the dust" 

Mother gave a little scream of horror at this 
remark, not understanding that it was only the 
Colonel's facetious way of saying that he wanted a 
brandy and soda. The footmen opened a couple 
of baskets in a twinkling, while the grooms were 
leading the horses away and drinks were handed 
about — tiny foie-gras sandwiches, and glasses 
of champagne which the ladies sipped daintily 
and gave back to the servants more than half 
full, while they looked about them to see whether 
any of their smart friends were on the other 
coaches; and gipsy children crawled about the 
grass like insects, and gipsy mothers, with infants 



52 Under Love's Rule. 

in their arms, begged for a chicken or a lobster 
for the baby, peering into half-open baskets with 
hungry eyes. 

Mr. Lerwick and Colonel Pamby went off to 
the paddock together. The other gentlemen 
strolled away along the line of dn^s and car- 
riages, and were lost in the crowd. The boys 
asked their father if they might go with him 
to see Badmash, and being somewhat curtly 
refused, they found life hardly worth living. 
Fluff did not conceal his disgust The coach 
had been delightful as long as it was moving; 
but to sit on the top of a horseless vehicle, 
looking at the crowd, and the downs, and the 
sky, was not enough for pleasure. 

Paul began to climb down, when his mother 
stopped him. 

** You are to stay with us, Poppino." 

" Us ! Who's us ? All the men are gone." 

" But you are not a man." . 

'' No, but I ain't blind. I want to walk about 
and have a look at things — and so does FlufT." 

** Yes, yes, mummy, I'm tired of beii^ up here." 



For the Blue Ribbon. 53 

" Oh, you naughty boys, when father is giving 
you such a delightful treat.'* 

^It ain't a treat to be up here among a lot 
of women," grumbled Paul. "If it is, why don't 
Colonel Pamby and the governor stop ? " 

" How dare you talk of the ' governor ? ' '* 

^'Oh, you want boys to be spoons, and say 
papa' like a doll with a phonograph in its 
stomach," retorted Paul, in open mutiny. **I 
want to go to the paddock and see if Badmash 
looks like winning— or, if I mayn't go there, I 
can stroll about the course and look up my 
friends." 

"I won't allow you to leave the coach. You 
would be going about among the ragged children 
and getting scarlet fever. Look, there's a dog 
on the course. The race is going to begin.'* 

"And there's a bobby chasing him!" cried 
Fluff. 

The dog made a diversion, and it was fun to 
see the mounted constables riding gallantly up and 
down, and a close line of blue-coats thrusting the 
crowd back on either side, till the long strip of 



54 Under Love's Rule. 

sward lay clear and smooth like a green ribbon. 
And then came the race before the Derby ; and 
eleven horses in whose fortunes the bookmakers 
seemed the only people interested, distinguished or 
disgraced themselves after the manner of horse- 
flesh. And when that race was over, Mr. Lerwick 
came back to the coach flushed and feverish, 
lauglung and talking more than usual ; and more 
bottles of the last fashionable champagne were 
opened ; indeed, Paul, watching his father keenly, 
noted with a strange childish fear that the owner 
of Badmash was drinking nearly all the time 
between that preliminary race and the event of 
the day. 

Fluff, less thoughtful, but as observant, re- 
marked upon the fact ^What a lot of cham- 
pagne father drinks. Isn't it bad for him, 
mummy ? " 

" It won't hurt him to-day, dear. He only takes 
it because he's anxious about the horse." 

''But Badmash will win, won't he? Father 
said we were to see him win." 

''I hope you will, dear. But horses are so 



For the Blue Ribbon, 55 

uncertain. They never seem to know their own 
minds/' answered mother uneasily, and then she 
clasped the big doeskin paw with her delicate 
little hand. ''Tony, he's going to win, ain't 
he?" 

''God knows. There's a dead set against him 
in the ring. The bookies will be hit hard, and I 
shall make a pot of money, if he wins." 

"Do they give you your money in a pot?" 
asked FlufE " What kind of pot ? " 

But Anthony Lerwick was too preoccupied to 
answer infantine questions. That bottle of cham- 
pagne had left him pale as ashes — and even 
Pamby the facetious was strangly silent, after his 
seventh brandy and soda, and only muttered little 
jocosities to Mrs. Lerwick to keep up her spirits. 
Mr. Lerwick had only come to the coach to 
speak to his wife, and for a glass of that par- 
ticular brand which he had been told was the 
only wine worth drinking. He went back to the 
paddock with Pamby, to catch the last word of 
hope from his tnuner, to see his jockey weigh- 
out and mount, to hang about horse and rider till 



56 Under Love's Rule. 

the last moment, when they passed out of the 
gate — the jockey with sharp features set in a 
business-like gravity, the horse with every muscle 
quivering, on fire with impatience. 

Poor Tony! He had tried so often for this 
prize, had backed his own horses with such un- 
flinching faith in trainer and jockey, and nothing 
but ill-luck had been his portion. He had never 
taken the trouble to reckon how much his racing 
stud and his book — that fatal book which was but 
a register of mistaken opinions — ^had cost him. 
A man who doesn't know how rich he is need not 
keep any account of his losses; but he knew 
roughly that he had been losing a good many 
thousands a year ever since he went on the turf. 
He didn't mind about the money. It mattered 
little whether he drew more or less any year from 
Lerwick and Co. A business on so gigantic a 
scale must be unaffected by private expenditure. 
What he felt was the disappointment the humilia- 
tion, the shame of failing where other men 
succeeded. 

No horse could have looked finer in the 



For the Blue Ribbon. 57 

preliminary canter, Mrs. Lerwick devoured the, 
animal with her eyts as he bounded along, seem- 
ing scarcely to touch the ground. His light bay 
coat* shone like golden-brown satin, and the 
mauve and white — ^her choice — were the prettiest 
colours on the course. White jacket and mauve 
sleeves ; mauve and white cap. 

''It's much prettier than if the jacket was 
mauve and the sleeves white, isn't it, Polo ? " she 
asked, standing up on the seat, a white fluttering 
figure, with one hand on Paul's shoulder, and the 
other resting lightly on Fluffs head. 

The flag fell — the horses were off with a sound 
like thunder. The course was as hard as iron, 
and Badmash was a heavy horse who would have 
had a better chance on heavier ground. The 
favourite was light as a sylph — fine as gold wire. 
The great seething crowd of London let loose for 
a holiday seemed to breathe as one man, and 
that man was holding his breath. One minute 
of hope, half a minute of doubt, half a minute 
of despondency, and then — fifteen seconds of 
blank despair, and there rose that roar of 



58 Under Love's Rule. 

^unanimous voices which acclaims the triumph of 
the favourite. 

It seemed a veiy long time before Tony and 
his friend came bacl^ and Mrs. Lerwick sat silent, 
and feeling a sickness of despair, while the foot- 
men were serving luncheon — taking it upon them- 
selves to begin somewhat officiously as she thought 
— and while her friends were eating and drinking 
and chattering with an utterly heartless vivacity. 

Of course they knew that with people of the 
Lerwicks' wealth, it was not a case for pity. But 
still it was provoking to go on losing a great race 
year after year. It must make them almost 
objects of ridicule. And she could not now with 
any grace ask Tony to buy her those sapphires, 
the finest set in London, the property of a 
gambling countess, who was blazing about London 
in paste duplicates of diamonds that had been 
sold. 

Tony came back at last, looking as he did one 
day when his wife and children met him at Folke- 
stone, and he had just come off the boat after a 
stormy crossing. 



For the Blue Ribbon, 59 

^Has Badmash lost again?" Fluff asked 
dolefully. 

** Not again, my laddie. This is the gee's first 
achievement on this particular course," answered 
Pamby, who could not be expected to share his 
friend's depression, not having adventured so much 
as a solitary sovereign upon Mr. Lerwick's horse. 
** His first and last appearance in this particular 
race." 
** But father lost the Derby last year." 
^ Yes, Fluff, but with another horse. It takes a 
fresh 'un every time." 

'' Badmash is a beast," exclaimed Fluff, with 
vehement indignation. 

"And I shan't have my sapphires," sighed 
pretty Mrs. Lerwick, and then with a little gush 
of affection, she slipped her hand under her 
husband's arm. He had mounted to the seat at 
her side, and was staring straight before him with 
a gloomy countenance. 
*• I hope you don't feel disappointed, Tony ? " 
"I oughtn't to. I'm used to it," he answered 
with a bitter lightness. 



6o Under Love's Rule. 

^I wish you'd sell all those horrid horses and 
sack your trainer/' she said coaxingly. 

Of course when one is ridiculously rich, spending 
a little more or less can't matter; but still, to 
Mrs. Lerwick's feminine judgment that training 
stable, with horses that never won a race, seemed 
a sad waste of money. There was a villa near 
Lecco to be sold last September when they were 
at Bellaggio, and she would have liked Tony to 
buy it The price sounded a great deal in lire, 
but the villa would hardly have cost as much as 
that stupid stable — and it would be chic to own 
an Italian villa on the loveliest lake in Italy, even 
if one seldom had leisure to live in it 



( 6i ) 



CHAPTER IV. 

A CLOUD OF FEAR. 

There were no more treats after the Derby Day. 
The London season was now at its flood tide, and 
mother was going to parties every night. The 
night upon which she was due at only one party 
was an exception to the general rule of dinner and 

concert and dance, of '' looking in " at this great 

« 

house, and ''going on" to another. She was 
always having new frocks. Fluff knew, for he 
was often called into her room to look at some- 
thing especially pretty, and when he admired a 
frock or a mantle with enthusiasm he was said to 
have very good taste, to be altogether in advance 
of his years. Or if with infantine candour he 
called a frock ugly he was laughed at gaily, as a 
baby who knew no better. 



62 Under Love's Rule. 

" Why, it's the very height of the fashion, pet ! " 
protested Mrs. Lerwick. 

" Is it ? Then I should like something lower 
down." 

Paul was not consulted He had been found 
unsympathetic, brusque almost to clownishness. 
He wondered why his mother had so many 
gowns; talked about "you women," and ''the 
money you chuck away on trumpery," as if he 
were a political economist 

A boy of that kind could hardly be petted by 
a pretty young mother like Mrs. Lerwick. Fluff 
would sit on the floor and turn over her jewels in 
their velvet nests, and choose the diamond neck- 
lace he was to have for his wife when he grew up 
and married. 

*' Father must have heaps of money to buy you 
all these," exclaimed Fluff; " or had you any of 
them before you were married ? " 
" No ; girls don't have diamonds." 
" Don't they ? Not even rich girls ? " 
" Not even rich girls. It isn't good style." 
* Were you a rich girl ? " 



A Cloud of Fear. 63 

** No — ^not exactly rich." 

" Not rich like you are now ? "— searchingly. 

"No." 

" Were you poor ? " 

" Of course not How can you ask such silly 
questions ? " 

'* Little Auntie doesn't look as if she were rich." 

'*No, because she lives in the country, and 
doesn't go to parties, and doesn't want smart 
clothes." 

" Doesn't she like pretty things ? " 

"She couldn't wear them in a Devonshire 
village — where your grandfather lives." 

Fluff asked a good many more questions. He 
had a thirst for information that afternoon. Why 
didn't Mother have Auntie to live at Palatine 
Square, and give her pretty frocks, and take her 
to parties — and then perhaps she would marry a 
rich man, like father? On which his mother 
checked him indignantly, and told him it was 
very vulgar to talk of people's money. 

" That is the way servants talk ! " she said. 

** Yes, it is," assented Fluff; "they talk of you — 



64 Under Love's Rule. 

and father's money ; and the maids say that you 
are both 'stravagant enough to run through your 
fortune if it was three times as much." 

" Do they say that — to you ? " 

** No, but I hear them. I listened at the door 
yesterday when Sarah and Loo were cleaning the 
schoolroom." 

"Insolent wretches! But you mustn't listen, 
Fluff. It's low and vulgar to listen. Only under- 
bred little boys listen. Did you hear any 
more ? " 

"Loo said you're not so pretty as you was a 
year or two ago." 

" Not you * was/ Fluff--as you * were.' " 

" Loo said you didn't wear well" 

" Loo ! You must never call a servant Loo. I 
can't think where you get such vulgar ways." 

"Sarah calls her Loo. And father calls you 
NelL" 

"That's quite different People of the same 
class may call each other what they like." 

And then Mrs. Lerwick, in her light way, tried 
to explain to him the great gulf there was between 



A Cloud of Fear. 65 

a little boy who lived in Palatine Square, and the 
servants who waited upon him. She did not go 
quite so far as to say that the Creator had made 
them of a different clay ; but she tried to make 
him understand that they were always to be 
treated as creatures of a different race, with 
whom he could have no thoughts or feelings in 
common. 

'' It always distresses me to see your familiarity 
with Tandy," she said. " But while you are small 
and he has to ride by your side, I suppose that 
can't be helped. When you are big enough to 
manage your pony, Tandy will ride behind you." 

" I'm not afraid of my pony ; but if Tandy rides 
behind me, who shall I have to talk to ? " 

** Your brother, of course." 

"Paul's so ignorant Tandy knows everything 
— all about horses, and dogs, and rats, and birds 
— and everything. Tandy lived with a country 
doctor " — here Fluff sank his voice to a solemn 
whisper — ^"'who kept fighting-cocks — and they 
fought; and Tandy used to hold one, and the 
doctor held the other, and they were * game ' to 



66 Under Love's Rule* 

the last feather ! " concluded Flufi; in a burst of 
enthusiasm. 

•* If I had known that of Tandy he should never 
have been engaged in our stable." 

** Oh, come now, the stable's father's province — 
I heard him tell you so once when you grumbled 
at his horses always losing. The stable's his 
province. What is a province ? " 

It was a glorious summer. There was hardly a 
rainy day between Epsom and Goodwood. Ascot 
was a Saturnalia of hot weather and smart frocks 
and society babble. Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick hired 
a house at Windlesham for the race-week — a 
" place " in a park, where there was a pond that 
offered a secluded refuge for any unlucky member 
of the Jockey Club. 

The place at Windlesham was roomy enough 
for a large house-party, but not large enough to 
accommodate Paul and Fritz and their belongings. 

** Besides," said Mrs. Lerwick, during one of her 
rare visits to the schoolroom, as if continuing a 
line of argument, " it would be a pity to interrupt 



A Cloud of Fear. 67 

Paul's studies when he is getting on so well with 
you," 

She looked at Miss Warren for assent and 
encouragement; but that lady, who was always 
more provoking than anybody else in the world, 
chose to take an opposite view. 

*^ I am generally sorry for any break in Paul's 
studies," she said gravely, ** but I think in this hot 
weather the change to the country would do him 
and his brother worlds of good If you did not 
care for me to run down by rail every day, I could 
lodge at a cottage in the neighbourhood, so that 
there need be no break in Paul's lessons." 

Mrs. Lerwick — who had never liked Miss 
Warren — ^looked upon this proposal as an artful 
attempt of the daily governess to get herself 
included in the Ascot party. 

"You forget that every cottage is let for the 
race-week, and that the Ascot trains are absolutely 
impossible," she answered pettishly. 

" Then I could give Paul a holiday task, and he 
could send me his Latin exercise and his Euclid 
every day." 



68 Under Love's Rule. 

** It's absurd to talk like that when there is no 
room at Windlcsham for the boj-s and their 
nurse.*' 

^ If you had said so in the first instance, Mrs. 
Lerwick, I should not have talked absurdly." 

^ My husband always invites too many people " 
grumbled Mrs. Lerwick, as if she were called upon 
to justify hersel£ ^ My own particular friends will 
be horridly squeezed. The only comfort is that in 
this delicious weather we shall almost live in the 
grounds, and those are too lovely." 

Little as the two boys saw of father or mother 

in the London season, the week their parents spent 

at Ascot seemed cruelly long and dull ; and the 

ghosts had it all their own way in Palatine Square. 

The staircase — the landings — the windows — were 

full of ghosts in the lingering June twihght — in 

those still hours when London was dining, and 

there were no sounds of carriage wheels in the 

square, and when the roar of the Palatine Hill 

was subdued to a distant murmur that might have 

^cn the summer sea. The silent house, from 

which all the servants except one kitchen wench 



A Cloud of Fear. 69 

and a boot-boy had fled to their evening amuse- 
ments —echoed with phantom footsteps. The very 
air was full of ghosts — or the feeling of ghosts, 
which was worse than the actual thing, Paul 
thought, since it included such hideous possibilities. 
Miss Perry had given him a little book of ghost 
and goblin stories, translated from the German — 
a fat, close-printed duodecimo — and from that 
book of grisly horrors Paul had peopled the house 
in Palatine Square. He loved the book — indeed, 
books could not be too grisly for his liking — and 
after such strong meat he bored himself with " Tom 
Brown," or " Jackanapes," or the story of the boy 
who was " misunderstood." 

" I don't want to read about boys like myself," 
said Paul. '' I'm misunderstood. I like something 
that makes my hair stand up on end — or would, if 
I was in a funk." 

In the June twilight, when the deserted offices 
and servants' hall testified to the willingness of the 
ancillary mice to take the uttermost advantage of 
the absence — to spend the afternoon at Putney 
with a married daughter— of the housekeeper-cat 



70 Under Love's Rule. 

Paul was in a funk ; for then the fiends, and mid- 
night hearses, and shadowless men, and doppel- 
gangers, and skeletons dragging their clanking 
chains, and vampires gorged with human blood, 
came out of the little fat book of German stories, 
and waited for him in every shadowy angle of the 
stairs. He could not see them ; but he knew they 
were there. The empty rooms and closed doors — 
that sense of spaciousness and solitude — appalled 
him. He passed shuddering by his father's room 
on the half-flight, a fine room built out at the 
back, over the offices, with a wide old-world 
window, from which Mr. Lerwick could look into 
his stable yard, and even talk to the grooms. It 
was a cheery room when father was at home, and 
people were talking there, and passing in and out, 
and Colonel Famby's full baritone voice and 
boisterous laugh echoed along the stone landing ; 
but it was a place of nameless fears now when 
there was nothing but silence and solitude behind 
the closed door. 

Paul paused one evening with his band on the 
door-handle, wanting to go in and peep about, but 



A Cloud of Fear. 71 

afraid lest he should see his father sitting there in 
the twilight— the spectral likeness of his father, 
who was away at Windlesham. 

And there was no electric light on that awful 
silent staircase — no friendly light to be turned on 
at the touch of a button. Mrs. Lerwick objected 
to the electric light, because it was cold, and garish, 
and — unbecoming. There were only inaccessible 
gas*lamps which that odious young man, an 
under footman, would not come and light until 
the house was pitch dark. No ! He was in the 
stables enjoying himself. A loud burst of vulgar 
laughter rang up from the mews to the open 
window on the back staircase now and then ; but 
there was nothing human in the sound — it was like 
the laughter of those German fiends. 

Upstairs in the schoolroom Miss Perry sat by a 
window poring over a scrap of fancy work. Fritz 
had been in bed an hour, and Paul was enjoying 
the privilege of his superior years, and sitting up 
till nine. 

" Are there no candles ? ** he asked despairingly, 
looking round the low dark room* 



72 Under Love's Rule. 

" Not an inch of candle. I've rung the bell till 
I am tired," wailed Miss Perry. " I don't believe 
there's a human being in the bottom of the house 
—unless it's burglars," 

Pittman, the middle-aged nurse, had proved her 
confidence in Miss Perry by going visiting three 
evenings out of four during the Ascot week ; but 
she had generously suggested that Miss Perry 
should treat herself to a little outing on the fourth 
and last evening. She had friends in London, no 
doubt, who would take her to a theatre. 

Yes, she had an aunt, a widow in comfortable 
circumstances, who would give her some kind of 
treat, if she were free to accept it ; and this being 
«0| Pittman did not rest till Miss Perry had settled 
all about her evening out, which was to be to* 
niorrow, Friday. Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick were 
expected home on Saturday. The gates of the 
Windlesham Paradise would close with the end of 
the week. Beauty, fashion, rank, and wealth 
would fade away like the figures in a diorama. 

^I'li make those beastly servants hear," said 
Paul, pressing his finger on the button, and keeping 



A Cloud of Fear. 73 

it there while the electric bell trilled shrilly through 
the big empty house. 

He had been holding his finger on the button 
for five minutes before the kitchen-drab appeared, 
breathless and indignant 

** Where are the candles?" roared Paul. "It's 
disgusting the way you beasts of servants behave 
when your master and mistress are away." 

He felt there was manhood in this remonstrance, 
but he knew that he would not have dared to say 
as much to the butler, who would have withered 
him with imperial scorn, or to the under footman, 
who would have chaffed him, which would have 
been even more humiliating. 

The kitchen-wench was surly, and told him that 
she didn't know why there was no candles, and it 
wasn't her work to look after the schoolroom 
candles. It was the third housemaid's work to 
clean the rooms. It was Thomas's place to wait 
upon the young gentlemen. 

"And are Miss Perry and I to be left in the 
dark because Thomas chooses to go out, you low 
beast?" demanded Paul, feeling that this was a 



74 Under Love's Rule. 

fit occasion upon which to assert himself. ''Go 
and get some candles instantly." 

To which the resentful kitchen-slut muttered 
that she didn't know where the candles ''was 
kepV and that it wasn't her work "to look for no 
candles.** 

" I should like to know what work you are fit 
for, you idle beggar," ejaculated Paid, whfle Miss 
Perry, standing by, kept meekly murmuring — 

" Paul dear, don't be so rude." 

"V^[etables — them's my work," said the girl, 
sturdily. 

"Then go back to your vegetables, you in- 
corrigible slut I'd rather sit in the dark than 
be waited on by such a low creature," said Paul, 
who had heard a manly step upon the stair, 
and the footman Thomas whistling a music-hall 
melody. 

The girl retreated, sullenly muttering, and a 
bright light flashed into the schoolroom from the 
landing outside. 

"Come, Thomas," remonstrated Paul, as the 
man came in with his gas-taper, " don't you think 



A Cloud of Fear. 75 

it's rather rough upon us, your stopping out all the 
evening ? " 

"I didn't expect you'd want anything, Mr. 
Paul," the footman answered carelessly, "The 
house ain't hardly bearable downstairs on such a 
'ot night." 

" You might remember that all the other men 
are at Ascot" 

''I do, and I wish I was there along of 'em," 
said Thomas ; and then he took up the music-hall 
melody at the second part of the tune^ and lighted 
the gas, turning up the three burners to their 
fullest power, at the risk of smoking the low 
ceiling. 

Paul would like to have reproved him for 
whistling on duty, but didn't feel equal to it. 

''I should infinitely prefer candles this hot 
weather," he said discontentedly. 

* The housekeeper says there's to be no more 
candles burnt in the schoolroom.'* 



76 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER V. 



TETE DE LINOTTE. 



Seldom had there been such a delightful summer. 
Mrs. Lerwick and her friends were never tired of 
expatiating on the beauty of the weather. She 
had something to do every day, something that 
took her away from the dry, dusty square. The 
boys saw her drive oflf in the fresh morning, or 
in the blaze of the meridian sun, her muslin frock 
hidden by a dust-cloak that was all gauzy silk 
and delicate lace. She looked like 'a fairy. Fluff 
said, as he went yawning back to his favourite 
corner, and stretched his weary limbs on the dusty 
carpet beside a crowd of engines and coaches 
that suggested Swindon or Crewe, and tried to 
reproduce the last dreadful accident he had heard 
his nurse and the housemaids talking about 
Poor Fluff was very weary of himself and of 



Tete de Linotte. 77 

life in general that wonderful summer. He hated 
the square, he hated the streets, he hated Hyde 
Park, he had ceased to care for his sheltie, for 
he had nearly always a headache, and he told 
Miss Perry that the pony's trot made his head 
go " bumpity-bumpity-bump " — as if every tread 
of those iron-shod hoofs were stamping upon his 
brain. Every morning, with childish persistency, 
he asked his mother to take him where she was 
going; and every morning with the same light 
musical laugh Mrs. Lerwick replied that it was 
impossible. 

"There will be only grown-up people there, 
dearest It's quite out of the question." 
" Everything nice is always out of the question." 
"Oh, Fluff, how ungrateful, when I took you 
in the park yesterday evening, and you saw the 
Princess, and I gave you an ice at Gunter's ! " 
" I hate the park — and the ice made me sick ! *' 
" Then I'll never give you an ice again." 
"Oh, that's bosh! It only made me sick 
because I was sick before — I've had a sick head- 
ache all the summer." 



7 8 Under Love's Rule. 

"Fluff, how awfully you exaggerata But I'll 
get Mr, Verriman to look at you." 

'' I don't want his looks. He looks at my 
tongue, and sighs; and he feels my pulse and 
sighs again ; and he tries to look as if he were 
thinking; and then he sends me some beastly 
medicine — and then Vm no better." 

There seemed a long interval of oppressive 
weather between Ascot week and Henley week, 
but at least Mother was nominally at home, 
though she was actually out nearly all day. Fluff 
was startled from a bad dream sometimes by the 
sound of the carriage stopping, and the shrill 
yap-yap of Spitz welcoming his mistress from 
ball or rout She gave three parties in that 
interval — ^a dance ; a musical evening, with opera 
singers and the finest instrumentalists in Europe ; 
and a theatrical evening, with a little English 
one-act play, which had never been acted before, 
and which was so dull and trite that one might 
hope it would never be acted again, and a French 
Proverbe of that goody-goody order which the 



Tete de Linotte. 79 

Parisian actor reserves for the houses of the great, 
and the amusement of the English " mees." 

Upon such festive evenings Paul and Fluff were 
allowed to stay up till after ten, in order to enjoy 
the privilege of standing at the top of the stair- 
case, and seeing the earliest and least important 
guests ''come grinning upstairs to jabber to 
Mother on the landing." 

Eustace came from Elstree twice-— on dental 
business — during that month of June. The dentist 
complained of him to poor little Miss Perry as 
a boy lost to all sense of honour, so seldom had 
he worn that silver regulating-plate which would 
have made him beautiful in the future, at the cost 
of considerable discomfort in the present 

" I can't play cricket with that beastly thing in 
my mouth," Eustace grumbled, and he gave the 
dentist to understand that good bowling was much 
more important than good teeth. 

How Paul and Fluff envied this eldest brother, 
with his talk of cricket, at which he seemed to 
be a shining light — his chums, his tuck-woman — 
even his quarrels and fights! How much better 



8o Under Love's Rule. 

the rough-and-tumble of school-life— mostly in the 
open air— than stagnation on a third floor in 
London, where the heat was hardly bearable 
between noontide and teatime. Eustace told 
them horrible stories of the cold-blooded cruelty 
of the masters, the fines, impositions, cutting off 
of holidays, but even those horrors didn't appal 
boys who were weary of home. He showed them 
one of his punishment tasks, at which Paul 
laughed the laugh of the scomer. 

"Why, that's baby-work!" he cried "I do 
three times as much Virgil with old Warren every 
morning. Tm reading the sixth book. Ain't it 
jolly ? Better than the Arabian Nights ! " 

" You're a liar ! " retorted Eustace, who hated 
hooks, and couldn't understand his brother liking 
them. " You know that's gammoa" 

Eustace went back to school directly the dentist 
had done with him. The silver plate had been 
through the fire, and had been re-adjusted, 
Eustace said it hurt his mouth worse than 
before ; and it made him speak with the thickness 



T6te de Linotte. 8i 

and indistinctness of an afflicted person. He 
signalized his only appearance in the drawing- 
room by taking a back fall on the parquet and 
scratching that highly-polished surface with the 
brads in his boots ; and he left for Elstree de- 
nounced by his mother as the clumsiest boy she 
had ever met with ; but as she gave him a hamper 
from Fortnum's and a tip at parting he could not 
think her unmotherly. 

" Mother's a real good sort," he told his chums 
at Elstree, '^ though she's a bit too much of a 
swell." 

July began in a manner to carry on the repu- 
tation of June. Farmers were complaining of 
droughty newspapers were beginning to foreshadow 
cholera, since the daily Press has long since made 
up its mind that we are never to enjoy a glorious 
summer without the dreaded guest from Asia. 
Even in June, while the air is fresh, and summer 
is young, that awful impalpable pilgrim is creep- 
ing across burning plains, and resting beside 
poisoned wells, and faring steadily onward over 
desert and city, towards the white-winged ships 



82 Under Love's Rule. 

in the harbour, to steal on board, unsuspected, a 
fatal stowaway. 

There had been no "children's hour" since 
June began; for if Mrs. Lerwick happened to be 
at home at teatime there were always shrill 
chattering women in the morning room. Paul 
hated strange women, and was too proud to go 
in upon sufTrance ; but Fluff, who would go any- 
where for cake, would creep in sometimes, and 
would be taken upon his mother's knee and 
kissed vehemently for half a minute, and then 
forgotten, while she talked to her friends over 
his golden head. He ate as many rich things 
as he liked on such occasions, rout cakes and 
bonbons, out of little silver wine-tasters. He was 
more bilious and headachy than usual, when he 
awoke on the morning after one of these tea- 
drinkings. His increasing languor made Miss 
Ferry's feeble efforts at teaching more futile than 
ever, and words of one syllable seemed as difficult 
as if Fluff were a stranger to the English language. 

And now it was July, and every one who loved 
the river was talking about Henley and Marlow. 



TSte de Linotte. 83 

Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick were going to see both 
regattas from a friend's house-boat — ^the Paragon, 
and verily a paragon of boats, for it was as big 
as an old-fashioned man*of-war, and decorated as 
elaborately as any fine lady's drawing-room. 

Mrs. Lerwick mentioned the fact casually to her 
friends over Fluff's head, one afternoon, making 
light of the invitation, the boat, and the people, 

as became a fine lady. 

'' Mr. McCannister, the diamond man, has asked 
us, and we are going. It will be good fun. He 
is quite bearable — ^indeed, Tony rather likes him — 
but his daughters will want a great deal of snub- 
bing if I am to enjoy myself.'* 

'' I shouldn't think you could stand . them very 
long, though they say he has engaged Lord 
Leamington's cliefi* drawled a friend. 

*^ Oh, we shall not be away more than four or 
five days-M>r a week, perhaps, if the river is too 
tempting. The McCannbters have a gondola, and 
a couple of real Venetians. Why, Fluff, what's 
the matter ? *' cried Mrs. Lerwick, discovering her 
youngest son in a flood of tears. 



84 Under Love's Rule. 

" You s-sa-said you wouldn't g-g-go away again 
till we all went to Heatherside,*' sobbed Fluft 

* Oh, you silly boy ! This won't be going away 
—only for two or three days— just to see the 
regatta." 

" Let me go wiv you." 

" No, darling, I can't. It wouldn't be good for 
you." 

"Why not?" 

" Because — ^because— the river is so damp — ^and 
the wicked white fogs come up at night and 
swallow up little boys." 

"No they don't That's only baby-talk," said 
Fluff, swinging his l^s in an ill-tempered way, 
and producing a very ugly lower lip. ** Why can't 
I come?" 

"Because ifs Mr. McCannister's boat, darling. 
If it were father's boat I might take you — 
perhaps." 

"You didn't take us to Windycum," sobbed 
Fluff, now become convulsive; whereupon bells 
were rung, and he was handed over to the 
servants ; and the four shrill friends went away 



Tete de Linotte. 85 

presently, kissing and cooing over Mrs. Lenvick 
to the last instant; and they dispersed their 
opinions among the multitude, to the effect that 
the odiousness of that youngest boy of the Ler* 
wicks was only equalled by the brutal unmother- 
liness of his mother. 



86 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER VL 

NOT ALL SUNSHINE, 

There had never been such a glorious Henley 
weelc The scientific people who look after the 
weather had to go back to the reign of William 
the Fourth for a summer that could parallel this 
summer which Paul and Fluff were spending 
wearily under the roasted slates in Palatine 
Square. All along the river bank at Henley the 
house-boats were ranged so closely that no one 
on the river could see the bank, and no one on 
the bank could see the riven And all the house- 
boats looked like gardens ; till at night, when the 
many-coloured lanterns were lighted on deck, and 
the lamp light shone out of every window below, 
and they were all changed into fairy palaces. And 
Mrs, Lerwick had still so much of childish joy 



i 

Not all Sunshine. 87 

in her nature that she broke ever and anon into 
a little scream of rapture as she and her friends 
were borne smoothly along the dark water in Mn 
McCannister's gondola. On every side the fairy 
palaces were shining, flags fluttering, rockets 
shooting sk3nvard with a rushing sound, and then 
scattering in a shower of stars, ruby, emerald, 
sapphire. Fireworks were exploding, guitars 
tinkling, mandolines twanging, melodious voices 
singing on every side. Gounod's cradle-song 
mixed itself with Funicoli, funicola. Schubert's 
** Good-night " jarred against ** Ta-ra-ra-boom- 
de-ay." But in this universal discord there was 
a kind of harmony; as if all dissonances were 
melted into concord by that broader, louder music 
of the rippling river and the summer wind. 

Once in the midst of this gay scene Mrs. 
Lerwick, in a little burst of motherly feeling, 
exclaimed, " Oh, how I wish Fluff were here ! " 

But she reflected the next moment that it was 
nearly midnight, and that it was far better for her 
darling to be in bed and asleep. 

The pity of it was that a boy might be in bed 



88 Under Love's Rule. 

and not asleep — and that Fluff had been sleeping 
very badly ever since the hot weather began. His 
mother was sitting on deck next day, under the 
gay striped awning, among the azaleas and orange 
trees, looking her prettiest in a creamy silk break* 
fast-gown, and comfortably conscious of her own 
prettiness. She was sitting in a little knot of 
superior people who could afford to look down 
upon their host, however well he " did them ; " and 
the wit of the party had been ** killing " in his 
remarks upon Mn McCannister's frock-coat and 
sailor hat. Mrs. Lerwick gave herself no concern 
when the telegraph-boy appeared at the top of the 
steps with a bag full of telegrams, which a footman 
sorted and distributed. 

Nobody is made uneasy by the sight of one of 
those buff envelopes nowadays ; unless it is some 
over-anxious wife or mother ever apprehending 
evil news of her beloved. 

''More invitations, I suppose,*' murmured Mrs. 
Lerwick, sis the footman approached her with his 
salver. 

There were three telegrams for her. Mr, 



Not all Sunshine. 89 

McCannister had received about twenty, and was 
lounging against one of the brass pillars that 
supported the awning, tearing open tlie envelopes. 

There were three messages for Mrs. Lerwick. 
One from her dressmaker. Yes, the frock should 
be ready for the Duchess's ball. One from her 
jeweller, who deeply regretted that it was im- 
possible to reset her opals in three days. The 
last was a longer message, signed " Julia Perry." 

" I am sorry to trouble you while you are visit- 
ing, but Fritz is very ill. He was delirious all last 
night, and this morning Mr. Verriman seemed 
anxious. I asked if I should send for you, and he 
said yes. I hope I am not doing wrong." 

Anthony Lerwick was at the other end of the 
boat, smoking, talking, laughing, in a little crowd 
of men, with one girl in their midst — a girl in a 
blue serge frock and a sailor hat, sitting on the 
brass rail — the kind of girl who always drifts in 
among the men, however many women there may 
be in a party, and as it were ofTers herself as a 
subject for chaff. 

Mrs. Lerwick rushed to her husbandi white as 



90 Under Love's Rule. 

her gown, trembling in eveiy limbi the message 
held in her outstretched hand. 

"What's the matter, Nell? Has that old har- 
ridan refused to make your frock?" asked Mr. 
Lerwick. 

" Tony, I must go home instantly. Fluff is ill — 
delirious— dying." 

She flung herself upon his shoulder, sobbing 
vehemently, while the blue serge girl dropped 
quietly off the brass rail, and slipped away to the 
ladies at the other end of the boat. The atmo- 
sphere had changed, and she had tact enough to 
know she wasn't wanted. 

"Something amiss with the kid," she replied, 
when she was asked the meaning of Mrs. Lerwick's 
tragic movements. " I ain't on in that scene.'* 

Lerwick took the telegram from his wife's hand 
and read it 

" Com^ come, Nell, you needn't lose your head. 
When does the next London train start, Burton ? 
Find out, like a good chap. There's nothing so 
much amiss — a little feverish and light-headed.^ 

" I want to go home, home, directly," sobbed his 



Not all Sunshine. 91 

wife. " I wish I had never come here. We ought 
to have had our own house-boat, and the three boys 
with us. I hate myself for leaving them behind. 
Fluff so wanted to come ! If there isn't a train 
directly, you'll get a special, won't you, Tony ? " 

There are moments and scenes in this life which 
bum themselves into even the shallowest mind. 
Feather-brained as Ellinor Lerwick was, she never 
forgot that morning at Henley — the sound of 
running water, the lights and shadows on the 
banks ; the gathering crowd, alive with vivid 
colour ; the perfume of the golden lilies in a tall, 
yellow vase beside her chair. All the beauty and 
charm of a riverside landscape under a July sky, 
all the movement and gaiety of a smartly-dressed 
crowd, were interwoven with the wild fear in her 
heart. *' My darling, my idolized, neglected child 
is going to die." 

Fluff lifted up his weary head, with a little cry of 
glad surprise, when his mother came into the room, 
and threw herself on her knees by his bed. He 



92 Under Love's Rule. 

had just enough strength to put his poor dry sticks 
of arms round her neck. How they burnt with 
fever, those meagre little arms, from which the 
loose sleeves of his "jama " jacket fell away. 

" My darling, my darling 1 Oh, how thin he has 
got — how thin ! In two days." 

''He has been getting thin for a long time, 
ma*am/' said Nurse Pittman ; '^ you may remember 
my mentioning it a month ago." 

''Yes, yes; that was because he grew so fast. 
Darling, we will soon make you well" 

The room was darkened, and wet kuskus blinds 
hung in front of the open window to cool the 
atmosphere. The noonday sun was beating fiercely 
on the slates above. It was a small low room, 
Fluffs "very own room," prettily furnished with 
white wood, and a little brass bedstead, and with 
roses and butterflies on the wall-paper. Every- 
thing was white and pink and gay-looking; but 
even that prettiness did not prevent the room 
feeling like an oven. 

Mrs. Lerwick was too absorbed in Fluff to notice 
the atmosphere^ 



Not all Sunshine. 93 

"What is Mr. Verriman doing for him?** she 
asked distractedly. 

**Hc has a heffervescing draught every three 
hours, and he is to be kep' very quiet ; and indeed, 
ma'am, you didn't ought to stay with him, you 
cgzite him too much." 

"Not stay with him, when I have come from 
Henley on purpose to nurse him ! Let me read to 
you, my precious," sitting on the edge of the bed, 
and hugging the wasted little figure. ^What 
shall it be ? Grimm's Goblins or Hans 
Andersen ? '* 

*" I don't want to be read to ; it only makes my 
head ache more and more," moaned Fluff. 

*• Not if I read very softly, dearest." 

"You can't read softly. Only Auntie can read 
not to hurt one when one's ill. Miss Perry has 
been reading to me — awfully badly, but not so 
bad as you." 

" Oh, Fluff, how unkind of you," remonstrated 
his mother, beginning to cry. 

"Don't, don't, mummy; I didn't mean to be 
rude. If you cry like that," Mrs. Lerwick growing 



94 Under Love's Rule. 

hysterical, "you'll make me delirious again. I 
was delirious all night, and I dreamt of such awful 
things— big heads without bodies— heads that 
came hopping into the room — and one was Blue- 
beard, with his throat cut like the footman who cut 
his throat in George Street" 

" Who told you [that ? I suppose it was you. 
Nurse. It is shameful that a child should he told 
such things." 

" I never told him nothing of the sort, ma'am. 
And if I did it wouldn't have done him any more 
harm than the pantomime last Christmas. He 
talked more about Bluebeard than he did about 
the footman," retorted Nurse Pittman, who had 
forty pounds a year to her wages, and rarely con- 
descended to undertake anything but ''a lady's 
first baby," as per advertisement. She was an old- 
fashioned nurse, who set up the light of nature and 
long experience against modem training, and ^as 
not at all the kind of person to accept reproof 
meekly. 

Mrs, Lerwick stopped in the room for some hours, 
moaning over Fluff at intervalsj and worrying 



Not all Sunshine. 95 

him from time to time with offers of things he 
did not want — a grape, a little lemonade, some 
more Eau-de-Cologne to dab his burning forehead. 
Life was all pain and weariness to the poor, little, 
feverish child ; and these ministrations of his 
mother's were the last straws. And yet he loved 
her well enough to be glad that she had come back 
to him, and to kiss her every now and then with 
his parched lips. 

There were several interruptions to the quiet of 
the sick room during those hours of maternal 
watching. Servants came with messages. Could 
Mrs. Lerwick see the housekeeper for a few 
minutes ? Or Could she see the forewoman from 
Mrs. Black, the florist, who had called about the 
decorations for the dinner-party next week? 
These messengers were snubbed and sent away; 
but later in the afternoon there came a messenger 
who would not be denied. This was Babette, who 
announced that a young person from Madame 
Violette was in Madame's room, waiting to try on 
her ball-gown for the flU of Madame la Duchesse. 

Mrs. Lerwick gave a little sigh as she rose to 



96 Under Lovers Rule. 

obeyr this summons. If Fluff should be worse that 
ball finery would be sadder than sackcloth. But 
no, he was going to get better. She counted the 
days on her fingers. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, 
Tuesday. Children jnck up so quickly. No 
doubt he would be well by Wednesday; and she 
was frightening herself uselessly. She stooped to 
kiss him, and hurried after Babette. 

Paul, who was moping over a book in the school* 
room, ran out into the corridor, and threw his arms 
about his mother. 

^ Is he very bad, mother ? ** 

** No, dear, not bad, only very feverish." 

^ It's this beastly house, exclaimed Paul, vin- 
dictively ; ^ I hate the London season.*' 

''When he's better I'll pack you all off to 
Heatherslde." 

''Alone?" 

" You'll have Miss Perry and Miss Warren." 

Paul whistled contemptuously. 

" A precious pair ! But it will be better to be 
with them at Heatherside than in this gloomy 
hole." 



Not all Sunshine. 97 

** Oh, Paul ! think of all the little boys who 
Would love to live in Palatine Square." 

" I can't think of 'em. I don't believe there are 
any such boys. I'd rather live among the bird- 
shops in Seven Dials. There's some life there." 

Mrs. Lerwick offered him a kiss, her universal 
panacea, and hurried away to the mademoiselle 
from Madame Violette, a rather airified made- 
moiselle, who scarcely condescended to speak 
to the client while she tried on the ball-gown, but 
turned Mrs. Lerwick about as if she had been a lay 
figure, and pinned her and pinched her, and slashed 
the satin upon her shoulders with a pair of cold 
scbsors in a most alarming way. 

Mrs. Lerwick, contemplating those ivory shoul- 
ders in the cheval-glass, against a raw edge of 
pale pink satin, asked in rather stumbling French 
whether the bodice was not somewhat too dicolUti^ 
whereupon the ma'amselle shrugged her own lean 
shoulders and replied severely in English — 

^' Dat is 'ow de bodice carry himself zis season, 
madame," and would condescend to no further 
discussion. 

11 



98 Under Love's Rule. 

She folded the gown, assisted respectfully by 
Babett^ and a footman was rung for to carry 
Ma'amselle's basket downstadrs, and when she was 
gone Mrs. Lerwick sat down in her blue satin 
bergere and cried herself to sleeps exhausted by 
the joyousness of last night on the river, and by 
the sorrowfulness of to-day. She slept till the 
clash of china and silver in the next room told her 
that the tea-table was made ready, and her dreams 
were a jumble of coloured lanterns and star* 
showering rockets, sick boya^ and racing eights. 



(99 ) 



CHAPTER VII. 

WHAT THE DOCTOR SAID. 

Anthony Lerwick was not the kind of man 
to hang about his son's sick room, being essentially 
an out-of-door person, but he did the next best 
thing, which was to see the doctor who was 
attending Flufi^ and, after briefest conference 
with him, to drive to Cavendish Square, and 
make an appointment with the physician in whose 
power of diagnosis the great world at that time 
believed. Though London bristles with clever 
doctors, there is always one consulting physician 
whom every one talks about as if he were 
iEsculapius in a frock-coat Now Sir Joseph 
Jerman was ilu man this season, and every 
ailing creature in Mayfair believed in his power 
of healing. 



loo Under Love's Rule. 

He was a vay busy man, dierefive; and it was 
cniy the fatfaex^s evident ^njodty that induced 
him to make an appointment for that eventi^. 
He promised to cot short his own dinner-hour 
in order to see the little boy in Palatine Square 
at nine o'dodc He could not posaUy see him 
earlier. And so itwas arrai^edtiiat Mr.Verriman 
and the physician should meet in Fluffs bed- 
room while fashionaUe London was dining; and 
this was the most cheering news that Mr. Lerwick 
could take home to his wife. 

She kissed him and praised him for his thought- 
fulness^ and at nine o'clock she was sitting at 
t^ufTs bedside waiting for the doctors. She had 
to leave before anything was done. Mothers and 
all such rubbish had to be cleared away to give 
the great man a free hand He asked the little 
bo/s nurse two or three questions^ and then 
dismissed her with a look which indicated an 
absolute contempt for that highly respectable 
person. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick had only a quarter of an 
hour to wait; but it was one of diose long 



What the Doctor said. loi 

quarter-hours which people remember for all 
their lives to come ; an interval of agonizing fear 
which can be recalled distinctly many years after- 
wards, with all the sensations of the actual moment 

" Oh, doctor, is he dreadfully ill ? " Mrs. Lerwick 
asked, holding out her clasped hands imploringly, 
as the grey-headed great man came into the 
room. " Is it typhoid, or typhus, or anything 
incurable ? " 

"There is absolutely nothing the matter with 
your son, madam. You have only been killing 
him." 

" Killing him I Oh, Sir Joseph, what can you 
mean ? " 

" Every principle of hygiene has been violated. 
In the hottest summer we have had in England 
for thirty years, you keep that frail, sensitive 
child in a room the cubical contents of which 
would be inadequate for a garret in a cottage." 

Cubical contents! Mrs. Lerwick looked de- 
spairingly at her husband, and her tremulous 
lips whispered involuntarily, "What are cubical 
contents ? " 



I02 Under Love's Rule. 

''You allow 'gas to be burnt in his room all 
night" 

" What other light should we have ? Gas is so 
safe for children's rooms." 

''Safe! Yes, safe to bum up their lungs. I 
don't want to say anything unldndi Mrs. Lerwick ; 
but it is sad to see a beautifully-made child — ^with 
nothing organically wrong about him — ^wasting 
away as your child is wasting away — just perish- 
ing of improper treatment — ^badly housed, im- 
properly fed, kept without sufficient air or exercise, 
stifled under a miserable low ceiling, baked to 
death in an ill-ventilated oven of a room. It is 
saddening that such ignorance should exist— in 
Palatine Square — ^after all the books that have 
been written and the lectures that have been 
given on domestic sanitation." 

Sir Joseph Jerman paced the small schoolroom 
to and fro like a lion in a cage — like a fine old 
grey-headed lion. The folly and ignorance of the 
rich were always more irritating to him than the 
mistakes of the poor. He expected the poor to 
^e ignorant, and he bore with them, and taught 



What the Doctor said. 103 

them, and was tender with them; but he was 
indignant with the pretty young mothers who 
thought more of their frocks than of their 
children. 

"What are we to do, Sir Joseph ?" Mrs. Lerwick 
asked helplessly. 

"Mr. Verriman knows what to do. There is 
very little to be done ; but there is a great deal 
to be undone. To begin with, the boy must be 
removed to a larger room." 

" But every bedroom is occupied. This is such 
a small house as to bedrooms." 

** Nonsense, Nell," muttered her husband, quickly. 
" He can have your morning room." 

** Yes, we might put a bed in my morning room, 
only " 

She was going to say that it would be very 
inconvenient in the height of the season ; but 
something in the doctor's face checked her. 

" Your morning room by all means, if it is sury 
and cheerful." 

"Oh, it is quite the cheerfulest room in the 
house." 



I04 Under Love's Rule. 

"Move him into it this evening. No gas, re^ 
member." 

" Oh, I have no gas in my morning room. It 
is so destructive to curtains and ornaments." 

" And to human life also, strange to say," said 
the doctor, grimly. " As soon as he is able for 
the journey you will send him to the seaside," 

" He can go to our own place." 

"Where is that?" 

" In Dorsetshire, near Bournemouth." 

" A charming place no doubt, but he will require 
a more bracing air — Margate, for instance." 

" Oh, Sir Joseph, such a horrid Cockney place ! " 

" He will go there for the air. The Cockneys 
needn't get in his way. FIl come and see him 
again next week, and talk the business over with 
you." 

Sir Joseph had shaken hands with Mr. and Mrs. 
Lerwick, and had gone a little way downstairs 
with Mr. Verriman, when the lady ran after 
him. 

" Oh, doctor, please don't think me frivolous, but 
there is to be a very smart ball next Wednesday, 



What the Doctor said. 105 

and I should love to go to it, if my darling werq 
well enough by that time." 

'* ril come and see him on Wednesday after- 
noon* If my instructions are obeyed I dare say 
he'll be well enough for you — to leave him." 

Fluff was visibly better within three days of his 
removal to the large airy room, and under those 
strict rules of dietary laid down by Sir Joseph 
Jerman. Mrs. Lerwick was not allowed to see 
much of him during these three days, as one of 
Sir Joseph's injunctions had been extreme quiet 

" You had better get a trained nurse — a young 
woman," he told Verriman. "I don't like that 
bustling nurse in the black silk gown. The 
governess seems a good little creature. She has 
a quiet manner and a mild eye. Keep the bustling 
woman away from him, and the mother. He'll 
do well enough if he gets a fair chance." 

The physician had no reason to complain when 
he came on Wednesday. The boy was sitting 
up in one of his mother's prettiest chairs, with 
Pincher for his play-fellow— Pincher, who stuck 



io6 Under Love's Rule. 

his claws into the delicate lace frillings of pillows 
and chair backs, and who scratched for rats in 
the comers of satin sofas. Fluff had made Urn* 
self thoroughly at home in tiie morning room. 

** Mother's coming to tea with me, if I'm well 
enough to-morrow afternoon," he told his physician. 
^ Won't that be fun, mother coming to tea as my 
visitor in her own room ! " 

* Capital ! And would you like to go to the 
seaside next week ? " 

*' Wouldn't I, just ! " 

* And whom would you like to have with you ? ** 
Fluffs countenance fell 

'' Mother said it would be the two governesses, 
Paul's and mine," he said. " They won't be much 
fun. Miss Warren hates dogs, and Miss Ferry 
can't run. She ain't a bit of good at games. I 
know the person I should like," added Fluff. 

•*Whoisthat?" 

"The little Auntie." 

* A sister of yours, Mrs. Lerwick ? " asked the 
doctor. 

" Yes, my youngest sister." 



what the Doctor said. 107 

"She would hardly be equal to the responsi- 
bility of looking after your little invalid, perhaps," 
hazarded Sir Joseph, " if she is much younger than 
you." 

'* She is eight years younger ; but she is a very 
old-maidish, prim little person, and doesn't a bit 
mind responsibility." 

'* Then might it not be wise to let this young 
lady accompany your children to Margate or 
Ramsgate, if she could be spared ? " 

"Oh, I dare say she might be spared, and I 
know she would like to come. She would do any- 
thing for the children* She adores my children. 
She often comes to stay with us when we are at 
Heatherside; and she sees a great deal of the 
children, and knows all about their ways almost 
better than I know them myself." 

"That is quite possible," assented Sir Joseph, 
with grave politeness. 

Fluff went dancing about the room on shaky 
legs, crying— 

"The little Auntie— the little Auntie! Hip, 
hip, hurrah ! for the little Auntie." 



io8 Under Love's Rule. 

He ran to the door and opened it, and screamed 
up the staircase, in his shrillest voice — 

" Paul, Paul, Paiil ! we're going to Margate with 
the little Auntie ! No Warren, no Perry — only the 
little Auntie ! " 

'* Not Margate ! " exclaimed Mrs. Lerwick, in an 
imploring voice. "Anything but Margate. How 
could I tell people my children had gone to 
Margate ? " 

"This little man won't want to see me any 
more," said Sir Joseph, stooping down to kiss 
Fluffs fair forehead. " He will do very well now, 
Mrs. Lerwick, if you take a lesson from what 
has happened, and obey all Mr. Verriman's 
instructions." 

Paul cannoned against the doctor as he ran into 
the room. 

" Are we going to Margate instead of Heather- 
side ? " he exclaimed. " How jolly ! " 

There is an innate vulgarity in children only 
to be eradicated by early association with smart 
people. 



( I09 ) 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE children's PLAYFELLOW. 

The little Auntie had only to be told that one of 
her nephews was ailing^ and that her society might 
be of some service to him. There was no paid 
attendant, tempted by the promise of high wages, 
who would have answered Mrs. Lerwick's summons 
more promptly than it was answered by Miss 
Dorothea Hampden. No entreaties were needed 
to bring this lady to Palatine Square. She had no 
sense of ill-usage at not having been invited to 
share in the glories of the London season. She 
needed but to be told that Fritz had been almost 
dangerously ill, and that she was the most 
eligible person to take him and his brother to the 
seaside. 
*' You will have Perry and Pittman, and I shall 



iio Under Love's Rule. 

send a groom to look after pony-carriages and 
things ; so there will be no drudgery," wrote her 
sister. 

Dora smiled at this passage about drudgery. 
As if there were any labour that would have 
seemed common or unclean to her, if it were to 
be done for those dear childrea Often and often 
in her day-^dreams she had pictured to herself 
what her life might have been like had her sister's 
husband been a struggling professional man, 
instead of a millionaire; how she might have 
taken care of the boys in a country cottage, and 
taught them, and sewed and washed and ironed 
for them ; and how her days, instead of being just 
a little aimless and monotonous, as they were now, 
would have been full of delightful work and duty. 

Dorothea was only twenty-four, but as all her 
people and most of her friends and acquaintances 
had made up their minds that she was not likely 
to marry, she had, with one reservation, accepted 
their view of her case, and had resigned herself to 
the possibility of life-long spinsterhood. For if 
that one person whose image occupied so large a 



The Children's Playfellow, iii 

place in the quiet depths of her mind were to 
forget her in the far-off land whither he had gone, 
she knew there was no onie else in the world who 
would ever win her liking. She was one of those 
quiet little people whose thoughts lie deep in a 
shy silence, and who know not what it is to 
change. 

She was the youngest of four sisters, of whom 
three were married; two of them well, one of 
them rather badly, since a country Vicar with a 
large parish and a small income was considered 
a very poor match for the sister of EUinor 
Hampden, who had married millions. 

Georgiana, who had married only three years 
since, was now giving the tone to society in an 
Indian province, as the wife of a highly-placed 
official. 

These three ladies had all been accounted 
handsome; and their sister, Dorothea, as the 
youngest and least attractive of the brood, had 
long ago been given a kind of Cinderella place in 
the family circle. She was not asked to sit in the 
chimney-comer, or to dean pots and pans; but 



^^2 Under Love's Rule. 

she was allowed, and even expected, to run up 
and down stairs and fetch gloves, parasols, books, 
and pocket-handkerchiefs, for the other three, who 
^vere encouraged in careless habits by the handi- 
• ness of a willing littie sister. 

That was Dorothea's chief characteristic She 
was always the Little Sister. She was not a 
creature of abnormal smallness like Little Dorrit 
No one could have mistaken her for a child when 
she was a grown-up woman. But she was small 
and slender, very delicately fashioned, with a foot 
arched like an Arab chiefs, and a tapering hand, 
and a waist that made everybody else's waist seem 
thick and clumsy. If she had been very beautiful, 
people would have called her Titania ; but as she 
Was popularly supposed to be rather plain, in 
comparison with the three tall sisters with their 
Vivid Devonshire complexions and bright hair, 
she was commonly described as insignificant Yet 
plainness, actual plainness, could hardly exist 
^*th large dark-grey eyes, and a very expressive 
^outh, and a broad intelligent forehead. There 
Were, indeed, no positive faults in Dora's (ace^ for 



The Children's Playfellow. 113 

even her nose, though belonging to no established 
order, was neither pug nor snub, and her com- 
plexion, though wanting in colour, was clear as 
fine ivory. In a plainer family she might have 
taken rank as a pretty little girl ; but the three 
beautiful sisters overshadowed her, and had always 
taken care, in the most good-natured way, to let 
her know her place. 

Mr. Eustace Hampden, of Mill Park, near Bide- 
ford, was a Devonshire squire in a very small way. 
The Devonshire Hampdens had migrated from 
Oxfordshire after the Civil Wars, and claimed to 
be lineal descendants from the famous tribune 
who got his death-wound on Chalgrove Field. 
They had owned broader acres in the past than 
that diminished estate which belonged to Dora's 
father; but this gentleman, having no sons, and 
having been lucky in marrying his daughters in 
the bloom of their young beauty, found his in- 
come sufficient for himself and his only remaining 
girl — more especially as Dora had no troublesome 
desire for expensive gaieties, had never suggested 
a season in town, and was able to enjoy herself 

I 



•' 



114 Under Love's Rule, 

summer after summer at a r^[uIation round of 
garden-partiesi and to dance at any ball which 
local hospitality, or local subscriptioni might pro* 
vide for rural youth and beauty. 

This was the young woman who came flying up 
to Palatine Square as fast as a South-Westem 
Express could bring her, and who sat in Mother's 
morning room with Fluff on her lap, and Paul 
sitting on the arm of her chair, both of them 
hugging her with all their might, while Pincher 
clambered over the group and licked all three 
faces indiscriminately. 

^'Stacie is coming home to-morrow, and we're 
all going off to Ramsgate next week," said Paul. 
"Ain't that prime? Though I wouldn't mind 
even stopping here, now we've got some one to 
play with us." 

" And to love us," said Fluff, between two kisses. 

« Oh, Fluff, as if Mother didn't love you," re- 
monstrated Dora. 

''Of course Mother loves me— when she has 
time. Mummy loves me dearly once or twice a 
week— but you love me always.*' 



The Children's Playfellow. 115 

*' Mother was the prettiest woman at the 
Duchess's ball," said Paul "I heard her tell 
father so," 

«How did she know?" asked FlufE *'One 
doesn't know how pretty one is one's own self, 
does one ? I don't." 

"She heard the Prince tell the Duchess," ex- 
plained Paul 

" Isn't his nose beautifully cool ? " Fluff asked 
about Pincher, after a particularly energetic lick. 

"I think his manners are particularly cool,*' 
answered the little Auntie. 

*'Ah! it wouldn't do with some of Mother's 
friends," said Paul " He'd get poisoned with the 
stuff they put on their faces." 

" Oh, Paul, how can you know anything about 
it?" 

" So," answered Paul, pointing with his forefinger 
to his eyes. " That's how." 

•'And so, my dear Stacie is coming here to- 
morrow," said Aunt Dora, quite resigned to be 
pushed almost out of her chair by Pincher, who 
had established himself behind her back, and who 



ii6 Under Love's Rule. 

didn't like to be crowded. " Is he as handsome 
as ever ? " 

•* I don't know anything about handsomeness. 
He's just the same as he always was, only a little 
bigger and a little thicker. He gets air and 
exercise, so he grows. We stop where we are." 

** But you have had your ponies all the summer." 

* Who cares for ponies in summer ? They had 
better have had their shoes ofT, and been saving 
up for the hunting next November," said Paul. 
"What I want in summer is cricket, or rowing. 
I ought to have been at Elstree, instead of being 
kept at home to keep a baby like Fluff company." 

** / don't want you ! " cried Fluff, indignantly. 
*' You're always as cross as two sticks ; and you're 
no company for me." 

" Ah, but Mother thinks you'd fret if you were 
alone." 

" Well, now you are going to have lots of air 
and exercise ; and cricket too, perhaps ; and golf, 
and tennis," said the little Auntie, "and we shall 
have no end of fun." 

" Have you ever been at Ramsgate ? " 



The Children's Playfellow. 117 

"Only for a few hours at a time, when my 
cousin Jack was curate at Sandwich^ and I went 
on a visit to him and his wife.*' 

" Sandwich ! What a funny name for a place ! 
Mother says Ramsgate is awfully vulgar ; but not 
quite so objectionable as Margate." 

Miss Warren, who could be trusted to do any 
thing requiring firmness of hand and business 
capacity, had obliged Mrs. Lerwick by going 
down to Ramsgate for the day, and interviewing 
agents, and looking at houses. In this quest she 
perambulated the whole length of the east and 
west cliffs, and investigated innumerable houses 
in her rapid and decisive manner, forming her 
opinion on the first room into which she was 
ushered, and wasting no time upon inspecting 
unwholesome upper floors after detecting dust in 
the dining-room. Finally she decided upon a 
fine house in Imperial Crescent, considered quite 
the most aristocratic quarter of the popular water- 
ing-place* 

Thither on the following Monday were to 
journey a couple of maids and a footmani with 



ii8 Under Love's Rule. 

Miss Perry to look after them ; and on Tuesday 
the three boys and their Aunt were to travel, with 
only Pittman in attendance. 

** You'll have four evenings with us,*' said Mrs* 
Lerwick to her sister. "I really must take you 
about a little" — condescendingly — •'to the opera, 
and to some of my parties." 

•* Not to your parties, Nell ; I have nothing 
smart enough for them/' 

''You don't mean to say that you have come 
without an evening frock I " exclaimed Mrs. 
Lerwick, almost as horrified as if she had sup- 
posed that her sister travelled without a tooth- 
brush. 

" Oh no, I have two evening frocks in my trunk. 
One of them would do very well for the opera ; 
and I should think it so sweet of you to take me." 

"I'll take you to-night It's Tannhauser. Of 
course you adore Wagner ? " 

*' I mean to worship him when I hear more of 
him. I've heard so little modem music Why, 
Fluff, what's the matter? Has Pincher bitten 
you ? " 



The Children's Playfellow. 119 

Fluff had suddenly melted— or rather exploded 
— into tears — ^indignant teara 

" What's the good of your coming to be with 
us if you're going to the opera with her ? " he 
asked, angrily. " You'll be no more good to us 
than sAe is " — ^pointing at his mother. 

" Fluff, Fluff, that isn't nice of you. It's quite 
right of your mother to go to the opera — all 
grown-up people like to go— and it can't hurt you 
for me to go. You will be asleep before the 
opera begins." 

** No I shan't — I don't go to sleep easily. I want 
you to read to me after I'm in bed." 

''The doctor said there was to be no reading 
after you was in bed, Master Frederick," said 
Pittman, who had just appeared upon the scene— > 
heading a contingent of flunkey and maid bearing 
materials for tea — table — kettle — tea-tray — but 
not carrying so much as a plate of bread-and- 
butter herself. ^* You was to have the room kep* 
quiet and just go to sleep." 

**The doctor's an ass. Everybody's an ass," 
cried Fluff, furious at this interference. 



120 Under Love's Rule. 

His aunt talked to him seriously in her gentle 
little way — and made him understand the selfish- 
ness of his desire to keep her in the house all the 
evening when she could be of no use to hinL She 
would have willingly given up that great delight 
of hearing a famous opera, if her self-sacrifice 
could have done her darling any good; but she 
knew that it was for Fluffs best good to grapple 
at once with the demon of selfishness. She had 
been with the family at Heatherside long enough 
to know how that familiar demon had been en- 
couraged and developed in poor little Fluff by 
his mother's treatment of him, which was blind 
indulgence, tempered by intervals of neglect 

" I shall stop with you till your bedtime, dear," 
she concluded cheerily, after her mild remon- 
strance. 

"Oh no, you won't You'll be going down to 
dinner." 

** Not till eight. Master Frederick, and you ought 
to be abed before eight," said Nurse. 

^ I wish you*d mind your own business, and not 
chip in when you ain't asked," to the nurse, and 



The Children's Playfellow. 121 

then fretfully to Dora. "You'll be all the rest 
of the time dressing." 

" Dearest, it's only half-past five. Do you think 
I take two hours and a half to dress ? " 

" Mother does. At least, she takes a jolly long 
Ume." 

** I'll dress directly after tea, and I promise not 
to be away more than half an hour." 

*" And then we'll play spillikens." 

*' Anything you like." 

Aunt Dora kept her word, and came back to 
Fluffs room by-and-by in a pretty pink frock, 
which gave just the right touch of warm colour 
to the pale clearness of her complexion. 

Fluff and Paul were sprawling on the Persian 
rug in front of the open window, beginning to be 
very tired of each otheri and of the summer even- 
ing, and longing for Ramsgate. 

*' Mother says the place will swarm with niggers 
at this time of the }rear," said Paul. 

^ Real negroes like them as Miss Warren read 
about in Stanley's book ? " 

** You mustn't say them as— it isn't English." 



122 Under Love's Rule. 

** Ain't it ? It's my languagCi and it will do for 
me," Fluff replied haughtily. « Will they be real 
black persons, or only Christy minstrels ? " 

''Christ)^, of course. The real ones wouldn't 
be any fun. Auntie" — as Dora appeared, and 
they both sprang up to receive her — ^"that's a 
very jolly frock ; and now come and sit on the 
floor and play spillikens." 

" Not on the floor, Fluff, in my party frock." 

" Ah, you're just as bad as Mother ; you think 
of your frock first and of us afterwards. You said 
you hadn't got a party frock." 

" Not good enough for a Duchess's party." 

** Oh, the Duchess ain't much to look at She 
came here to dinner, and Mother made no end of 
a fuss about it I saw her from the top of the 
staircase. She looked like a haycock tied up in 
pink satin. Besides, she has given her evening 
party. That's all over. She won't ask Mother 
twice in a season." 

'*0h, but London parties in general are too 
smart for me." 

" That's why Mother doesn't have you here in 



The Children's Playfellow. 123 

the season," said Fluff. *' I heard her tell one of 
her friends that you were very nice and dear, but 
not pretty enough to get on in society." 

**What rot!" exclaimed Paul, who had some 
vague glimmering of the courtesy due to women 
younger than Miss Warren* ^Auntie's quite 
pretty enough. Nobody wants pretty people all 
over the shop." 

''Oh, we like her as she is" assented Fluff, 
patronizingly. "We don't care about your not 
being pretty, you know." 

" I hope not, darling. You love me for my own 
sake." 

''And because you'll play any game we want, 
and don't go to parties every night like Mother 
does. I'm very glad you're not pretty," concluded 
Fluff, decisively. "Pretty people ought never to 
have any children." 

"But then everybody would grow up ugly," 
objected Paul, taking a broader view of the 
question. 

" It would be a world of monsters," said Dora, 
laughing. 



124 Under Love's Rule. 

"Who cares? Pretty people who go to three 
parties a night can't want children— or dc^s. I 
wouldn't mind Mother neglecting us if she hadn't 
let Spitz get canker in his ears ever so bad before 
she sent him to Jewell to be cured." 

Aunt Dora changed the conversatioa She would 
never listen to unfilial criticism ; but it was very 
difficult to keep that fiery little member, Fluff's 
tongue, within proper limits. 

Stacie came home on Tuesday morning, brown 
and tall, and healthy-looking, a startling contrast 
to his younger brothers. He had grown out of 
his clothes in a single term ; and Mrs. Lerwick 
sent for the tailor before he had been in Palatine 
Square half an hour. 

^You are absolutely disreputable," she ex- 
claimed. ** I think you must stretch yourself out 
somehow at your everlasting cricket It can't be 
actual growth. Why, you are nearly as tall as 
I am." 

She stood beside her eldest son in front of the 
cheval*glass. How tall he looked! And what 



The Children's Playfellow. 125 

a rough brown creature, with freckled cheeks and 
a sunburnt nosel At this rate he would be a 
young man in three or four years ; and she would 
find herself going about the world with a grown- 
up son. And she had thought of herself up to 
this moment as a girl — a married girl. She had 
chosen all girlish things for her attire, and had 
rejected everything ungirlish as too old — ^heavy 
colours — ^brocades — velvets — gold embroideries — 
she had disdained all these splendours as unsuit- 
able ; and now in a few years — ^with a grown-up 
son — she must bid good-bye to girlishness. 

Weill he was not a daughter. There was 
comfort at least in that She would not be called 

m 

a chaperon. She would not have to sit on a 
bench and receive sour looks from an indignant 
young woman suffering under a dearth of partners. 
Eustace would be able to find partners for himself 
— and she might go on waltzing without qualms 
of conscience. 



126 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER IX 

A SUMMER ISLAND. 

Ah! what a life that was in Imperial Crescent 
What a glorious interval of utter idleness 1 There 
were to be no lessons for Paul, for Miss Warren 
was off duty, and had taken a holiday engagement 
with a very magnificent family in Scotland ; and, 
although the gentle Peny was with them. Fluff 
claimed immunity from even words of three letters, 
in his character of convalescent. What a change 
from the dull and dusty streets to sun-baked cliffs 
and far-stretching corn-fields i Instead of the 
smoke-blackened tree-tops of a London square, 
the children's [morning eyes looked out over one 
of the prettiest bays in England — that crescent 
of sea between Ramsgate and Deal. And before 
them stretched those broad downs that every 



A Summer Island. 127 

Englishman loves. They were looking over the 
great waterway of the nations. Over the azure and 
emerald of that summer sea they saw the great 
ships going out to the East; the gaily-painted 
pleasure steamers plying backwards and forwards, 
crammed with humanity; the little sailing-boats 
skimming about, looking no bigger or more sub- 
stantial than children's toys. And opposite, in the 
bright, clear mornings or in the golden afternoons, 
they sometimes saw the white cliffs of France. 

** I thought we had the only white cliffs," said 
Paul. " I'm sure we make as much fuss about 'em 
as if no other country had any." 

If the daylight was lovely on that happy shore, 
the night was no less beautiful, for first there were 
the Thanet stars, planets, and constellations, which 
were so superior to the stars in London that Fluff 
would hardly believe they were the same. 

"They're like them, only better," he said; 
whereupon Paul entered upon a disquisition on 
astronomy which made the rest of the party, in- 
cluding his aunt and elder brother, think very 
poorly of themselves. 



128 Under Love's Rule. 

''How that old woman does make you sap/* 
Eustace exclaimed contemptuously. **Vm afraid 
they*ll think you an awful smug at the 'Varsity." 

Miss Warren had crammed her pupil with that 
solid and useful information which is apt, in this 
frivolous age, to make the possessor obnoxious to 
his friends and acquaintances. Paul was always 
bringing out learned coin from his intellectual 
treasury; coin which was received by Eustace 
with derision, and by Aunt Dora with a warmth 
of interest and desire for instruction which any- 
body could see was pure acting. 

" You know you're boring Auntie with that long 
preach about the cliffs/' Eustace remonstrated, 
when his brother had been expatiating upon some 
of the wonders of geology, with all the newest 
views derived from Geikie. " What does she care 
whether they're argillaceous or confusedly crystal- 
line, as long as we don't tumble over them ? If 
she wants to know anything about jolligy she can 
read it in a book— better than you can tell her." 

" Oh, but I like to hear him, I do, indeed, 
Stacie." 



A Summer Island. 129 

** Well, I don't And he'd better shut up, unless 
he wants his head punched/' grumbled Eustace ; 
and Paul remembered with a sardonic smile that 
Galileo was bullied, and Giordano Bruno burnt 
alive. 

Paul thought he would hardly mind being burnt 
alive if he were sure that posterity would put up 
statues to him and make a shrine of his birthplace 
hundreds of years afterwards. He was a prig, and 
he was conceited, but he was the kind of un- 
pleasant boy who is sometimes the father of the 
distinguished man. Eustace was frankly — ^nay, 
even boastfully — ignorant. He was assured that he 
would never have to work for his living, and that 
a fine bowler has the world at his feet His own 
ambition was a cavalry regiment ; but his mother 
had made up her mind that she would not have 
any of her sons shot, so he had to reconcile himself 
to the idea of being only a cricketer ; and he saw 
before him a roving career all over England, 
bowling out adversaries from every county — and 
even from the remotest English-speaking colony. 
It was as a bowler that his laurels had been won. 



130 Under Love's Rule. 

He had had his name in the Sportsman after the 
Ektree-Cheam match. 

Paul meant to go into Parliament, and to startle 
the House nightly by knowing everything that 
nobody else knew. He had put the younger Pitt 
before himself as a model, and sometimes dropped 
from drowsiness into dreamland, muttering, *A 
heaven-born minister," or " How I leave — ^love — 
leave — my country ! " 

Miss Warren had impressed upon him that he 
must be and do something. Nature and fortune 
had done much for him. Labour and perseverance 
must do the rest He didn't like Miss Warren ; 
but he understood dimly that she was useful to 
him, and that even Elstree might be a retrograde 
step in his intellectual journey. After Elstree 
would come Harrow — where he would get scholar- 
ships — ^but perhaps pass them on to poorer boys — 
and then Oxford — Balliol or Magdalen — one of the 
reading men's colleges — not Christchurch. 

Fluff wished to be a middy or a "gentleman 
jock.*' He had not quite decided which. 

" If I keep racehorses, Til take good care they 



A Summer Island. 131 

shall win, for I'll ride 'em myself/' said Fluff, who 
had made up his mind that there was something 
rotten in his father's training-stable. 

He might have heard the footmen talking — or 
he may have had Delphic hints from Tandy, who 
was too good a servant to say right out that 
his master, in the matter of horseflesh, was 
a fool. 

Tandy was with them at Ramsgate. That fact 
filled Fluff's cup of gladness with just the last 
drop of nectar. Paul was almost as glad ; though 
he would not for worlds have admitted that 
Tandy's presence could make any difference to 
him. They rode their shelties every morning 
before breakfast, after just a cup of milk and a 
slice of bread-and-butter, which Auntie called their 
" chota hazri." 

" What's ' chota hazri ' ? " Fluff asked, the first 
time he heard the phrase. 

** It's an Indian expression." 

^ I know ; it's that horrid hot pickle which looks 
as if it was nice, and burns the roof of one's 
mouth/' said Paul 



132 Under Love's Rule. 

" No, Paul, for once you're wrong. * Chota hazri • 
is Hindustani for a small breakfast" 

"How should I know Hindustani? I can't 
think how you come to be so learned about Indian 
words," said Paul, who thought himself insulted. 

It was a small thing, surely, to make Aunt Dora 
turn as red as a rose^ but the rose tint was there, 
and Paul became disagreeably curious. 

"Where did you learn Hindustani, Auntie? 
You've never been in India." 

'' And I never learnt Hindustani, Paul ; but 
when your Aunt Georgie was engaged, and when 
Sir Henry Mandeville was a great deal with us, 
and his sister, and a cousin of his in the same 
service " 

" Oh, Auntie, how red you are ! " cried Fluff. 

They were sitting at a cosy round table, taking 
their second breakfast, after a long ride in a world 
that seemed enchanted, so thrilling was the fresh- 
ness of the air, and the sparkle of the dew, and 
the unspeakable splendour of colouring over sea 
and sky; a little way inland, past hop-gardens^ 
where the young green of the blossom showed pale 



A Summer Island. 133 

against the dark green of the foliage ; past fields 
of Indian maize with broad flapping leaves; and 
then back to the coasts past broad plains of 
bearded barley, and above that lovely bay, where 
the shallow sea looks a lake. Aunt Dora had been 
walking with Pincher and a book, up and down 
the promenade, or on the lawn which belonged 
exclusively to those superior persons who lived in 
Imperial Crescent ; but wherever Pincher was, 
the book came off second best, for he was a dog 
who required continual attention, and couldn't 
amuse himself for five minutes without sympathy 
and assistance. He wanted his ball thrown for 
him, or somebody's gown to hang on to with his 
adamantine jaws. All Aunt Dora's flounces 
showed the marks of Pincher's resolute little 
teeth. 

"You must never tell a lady she's blushing," 
Stacie said gravely ; ** it's beastly bad form." 

**And you must never say * beastly,'" retorted 
Fluff. '' Mother says it's a low, common word." 

" I've heard her say it herself, though, when her 
dressmaker disappointed her," said Stacie. 



134 Under Love's Rule. 

Dora's flaming cheeks had lost a little of their 
colour during this brief skirmish^ and she hoped 
the question had dropped. It might not have 
been renewed, perhaps, had she been self-possessed 
enough to start some fresh topic ; but she wasn't, 
and Paul returned to the charge with a deadly 
persistence. 

" Did Sir Henry teach you Hindustani words ? '* 
he asked. 

" No ; Sir Henry was too much occupied with 
Aunt Georgie." 

** Was it his sister taught you, or his cousin ? " 

'' Nobody taught me. I just heard Hindustani 
words spoken, mixed up with English, anyhow, 
and I picked them up— a very few words." 

" Was Sir Henry's cousin a man or a woman ? " 
asked Paul 

"A man," answered Dora, the colour coming 
back in a wave of fire. 

" Did you like him ? " 

" Oh, I liked him well enough." 

•' And did he like you ? " 

" How should I know ? " 



A Summer Island. 135 

'* Is he a soldier ? " 

" No ; a civilian/' 

" What a poor creature a man must be to put 
up mth being a civilian if he could have been a 
soldier/' said Eustace, to whose mind the name of 
the civil service sounded contemptible. 

A regiment — a mere line regiment even — had a 
noble sound. The Midlandshire, the Northshire, 
the Southshire, the Anyshire. It conjured up the 
roll of drums, the blare of trumpets, the scaling 
ladder, the mounted breach, the enemy's broken 
lines, the Victoria Cross. But a civilian — a man 
who sat at a desk and wrote letters, or even 
worse, kept accounts. How could anybody be 
interested in such a person ? Eustace wanted to 
hear no more about him. 

Fluff was not so easily satisfied. He hated 
book learning; but was keenly curious about 
people. He had acquired a very grown-up 
vocabulary from his conversation with servants, 
and frequent listening to gossip not intended for 
his ears, and with the vocabulary a large stock 
of very grown-up thoughtSi which jsgred upon 



136 Under Love's Rule. 

grown-up hearers when they dropped from those 
rosy lips. 

Flufi) who had been engaged with a basin of 
porridge and treacle, now came — ^like a g^ant 
refreshed — to the attack. 

" He wasn't in love with you, was he, Auntie ? *' 

"Of course not, Fluff. What an absurd 
question." 

" No, it ain't absurd. It ain't absurd to be in 
love. All our housemaids are in love. I've heard 
them talk about their young men. Sarah has a 
young man in Palatine Square; and she walks 
out with the postman in Dorsetshire. She says 
it doesn't matter her having two, because neither 
of them will ever know anything about the 
other." 

"I'm very sorry you should listen to such 
vulgar talk." 

''I don't listen, Auntie. I only hear when I 
can't help hearing. They wUl talk with the 
door open, when they're cleaning the rooms, 
and I'm playing in the schoolroom, and I hear 
them." 



A Summer Island. 137 

" You should call out, and let them know you're 
there." 

**0h, I don't see why t should spoil the fun 
like that" 

"How can you be curious about people who 
don't belong to you ? " 

" Because they are people," replied Fluff, like an 
infant philosopher, " and I want to know all about 
them." 

This time the conversation seemed to have 
drifted comfortably away from the subject which 
had hung so vivid a flag on Dorothea's cheeks. 
The little Auntie had quite recovered her usual 
happy calmness, presently, when Fincher took 
them all out on the ''From." It was generally 
Fincher who took them out of doors, for he so 
evidently expected it of them every time they 
rose from a meal-^or even from a chair — that his 
vivacity led to a frequent running out on to the 
lawn, and thence to the Fromenade, or " From," 
as the boys always called it 

Dorothea was sitting at the end of the ** From " 
half an hour afterwards, when she found to her 



13^ Under Love's Rule. 

cost that she was not yet out of the wood. 
Children seldom forget any topic which has 
awakened their curiosity. 

" I've come to sit by you and rest," said Fluff, 
sidling up to her, while his brothers played tennis 
with a highly respectable family in the sacred 
enclosure, whose acquaintance they had been 
allowed to make. " It's such spoony work playing 
pat-ball with girls. Stacie wouldn't do it if he 
wasn't mashed on that carroty Miss Thomson." 

"Fluff, you mustn't use such vulgar words. 
* Mashed ! ' * Carroty ! ' I'm positively ashamed 
of you." 

" Well, I don't know how I am to talk if I can't 
use the same words as other boys. Auntie, why 
did you never marry anybody ? " 

" What a startling question. Fluff." 

" No, but why ? " 

" Perhaps I was never asked." 

" Is that why you're so fond of us ? " 

" Perhaps." 

*'Well, I'm very glad nobody ever cared for 
you ; though I think it's very queer of people not 



A Summer Island. 139 

to like you. But it would have been horrid for 
you to marry." 

"Why horrid, dear?" 

" Because if you were married you wouldn't be 
our little Auntie any more." 

''Dearest, I should not be the least little bit 
less your Auntie, or the least bit less fond of 
you." 

"Oh yes you would. He would always be 
wanting you. He would call us 'those tiresome 
boys,' and send us out of the room. He would 
blow you up if you had us at your house too 
often. He would be afraid we should meddle 
with his guns. He would make believe that all 
his horses were kickers, just to keep us out of his 
stable. He wouldn't let us take his dogs for 
walks." 

" What a hateful person he would be. I should 
never marry such a heartless monster as that. 
Fluff." 

** Oh yes you would, if you liked him. You 
wouldn't mind how he trampled on us. Girls are 
so queer. Sarah's young man quarrelled with her 



'40 Under Love's Rule, 

one Sunday evening because she asked him to 
give her back half a sovereign that he'd borrowed 
off her." 

"Borrowed off— oh, Fluff, what English! I 
won't hear another word about Sarah." 

"And he was ever so rude to her; and she 
vowed she'd never walk out with him again ; but 
she did, on her very next Sunday. They went to 
Hyde Park, and he treated her to curds and whey 
and seedy biscuits; so you see what fools girls 
^r^" gabbled Fluff, breathless in his obstinate 
eagerness to finish his story and point his moral. 

" You must not talk of servants." 

" What am I to talk of, then ? There's nothing 
else in Palatine Square. I don't often see ladies 
and gentlemen, except mother and father; and 
they're always in a hurry." 

There was a pause. Dora went on with her 
book, a romance of Italian life written by an 
American, a kind of novel that took a good deal 
of reading ; and Fluff meditated. 

**Is Sir Henry Mandeville's cousin a nice 
naan ? " he asked 



A Summer Island. 141 

He was pleasant enough three years ago." 

** Haven't you seen him for three years ? ** 

** No. He went to India in the Mount Everest^ 
with your Aunt Georgie and Sir Henry." 

^ Oh I And is he never coming back again ? " 

''I dare say he will come back some day. 
Everybody comes back nowadays. India doesn't 
seem half so far away as it did when I was a 
chUd." 

**He is sure to come back," pronounced Fluff, 
" unless he dies in India. But it's very likely he 
may die. There are tigers and snakes and mun- 
gooses — so that even a man who doesn't fight can 
get himself killed," with obvious contempt for the 
civiliaa 

" The mungoose is supposed to kill snakes, 
Fluff, not human beings." 

''Bags I a mungoose, then, if ever I go to 
India. But I say. Aunt Dora, what's a civilian ? 
What kind of work does Sir Henry's cousin do ? " 

'' He is a civil engineer." 

•* What's that ? " 

** A man who makes railroads, and waterworks, 



142 Under Love's Rule. 

and harbours like that," answered Dora, waving 
her sunshade in the direction of the pieri where a 
big excursion boat, with two funnelsi was dis- 
charging her load of humanity, while another boat, 
almost as large and as crowded, was puffing itself 
hoarse in a passion of impatience just outside the 
harbour, waiting for her turn to come in. 

** What I Does he dig, and work with a pickaxe, 
like a navvy ? " 

*' No, dear, his work is chiefly with pen and ink." 

^ Ah, that's just what Stacie said. Civilians are 
poor creatures. They sit on stools with pens 
behind their ears." 

"Perhaps some day you will see Sir Henry's 
cousin ; and then you may not think him a poor 
creature." 

" I don't want to see him — not never," exclaimed 
Fluff, with an emphatic double negative. 

This was the end of Fluff's string of questions ; 
and he speedily forgot all about Sir Henry Man- 
deville's cousin and Dora's blushes. Life was so 
full of action and variety in Imperial Crescent ; 
and Flufl) in spite of his contempt for girls and 



A Summer Island. 143 

pat-ball, found himself sucked into a whirlpool of 
Thomsons — ^the family next door but one — a 
family of six daughters and three sons, who owned 
an over-worked Q.C. for parent, and whose mother 
had retired from this life some years since, after 
having conscientiously filled her nursery. Mr. 
Thomson, Q.C, knew Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick in 
London, where he was occasionally seen boring 
himself at evening parties ; so the Lerwicks had 
been duly accredited to the Thomsons, and the 
two families had become almost as one. 

An elderly governess had taken up the reins 
dropped by the worn-out mother, and the Thom- 
son family scrambled on somehow under her 
fostering care. She was very kind to them. She 
looked after their clothes and ordered their food, 
and did battle with the servants, and took care 
that there was comfort of a sort, and a well-cooked 
dinner, for the bread-winner when he came flying 
down from Paper Buildings to visit his flock. 

The eldest boy was three years older than 
Stacie, and the youngest was six months younger 
than Fluff, and allowed himself to be patronized 



144- Under Love's Rule, 

by that precocious person. He had enjoj^ none 
of FlufPs London advantages, and had never had 
such a guide, philosopher, and friend as Tandy 
the groom. 

In this juvenile society, in childish cricket 
matches, in picnics on the solitary shore between 
Fegwell and Sandwich, in excursions to see the 
golfers on the links beyond that old-world town, 
the summer days ran merrily on, and every new 
day deepened the glow of health on Fluflfs cheeks, 
and gave fresh lustre to his bold blue eye. Fluff, 
who had crept about the low, hot London rooms, 
pallid and dull, and heavy of limb, had now 
almost as much vigour and elasticity of movement 
as Pincher, whom he loved to race up and down 
the green enclosure, or across the fields towards 
St Lawrence. 

Never another thought gave Fluff to those 
dim possibilities of his Aunt's marriage which had 
been suggested to his young mind by those un- 
accountable blushes of hers — never a thought, till, 
sitting on the "Prom" one afternoon at Dora's 



A Summer Island. 145 

elbow, reading '* The Children of the New Forest," 
for the eleventh time, with his legs stretched out 
along the bench, and his head and shoulders 
in his Aunt's lap, he heard a voice above him 
saying — 

" I hope you have not quite forgotten me. Miss 
Hampden ? " 

He felt a tremor of surprise go through the 
slender figure against which he was leaning ; and 
then Dora's voice answered in tones as tranquil as 
that strange voice above her. 

"Oh no, I have not forgotten you, Mr. Doyle. 
I could hardly do that in three years ; but it is 
rather startling to see you here. I thought you 
were in India." 

''So I was till a month ago. I am home on 
leave." 

" How nice for you ! " 

"Yes; it is nice to come home and — see old 
friends again." 

Evidently this was the Hindustani - talking 
cousin. Fluff dropped his l^s off the bench in 
his astonishment, but he had not meant to make 



146 Under Love's Rule. 

room for the cousin, who seated himself, with 
prompt audacity, where FluflTs l^s had been. 

Fluff remamed wedged between his aunt and 
the stranger, and surveyed the intruder with a 
most deliberate stare. 

He was tall and broad-shouldered, and Fluff 
thought that the common herd might consider him 
good-looking. Fluff did not esteem himself a 
judge of so rough and manly a style. His ideal 
was a fairer and more delicate type — the face 
which he saw in the looking-glass when Miss 
Perry parted his hair, and which he had so often 
heard praised by his mother's friends. But for a 
roughish person the stranger was no doubt more 
than passable. Fluff liked the shape of his mous- 
tache, and the cut of his grey tweed suit His 
boots left nothing to be desired 

Aunt Dora, who was usually bright and 
animated, had become curiously silent ; and even 
the stranger, though he was bold as brass, seemed 
to have very little to say. He amused himself 
scraping hieroglyphics on the ground, with the 
point of his stick, for at least three minutes. 



A Summer Island. 147 

before'either he or the little Auntie found anything 
to say to each other. 

"Did you see anything of Sir Henry and 
Georgie lately ? '* Dora inquired at last, as timidly 
as if she were taking a tremendous liberty in 
asking about her own people. 

"I spent a week with them in the hills just 
before I left** 

'* And was my sister very well ? " 

** Very well, and very happy. The baby is tre- 
mendous. He is supposed in his own family circle 
to be the finest infant ever seen at Naini Tal. He 
gives a tea-party every afternoon.*' 

"Skittles!" exclaimed Fluff, indignantly ; "a 
baby can't give a party." 

"Well, the tea-party may be nominally his 
mother's affair — ^but it's the baby that people come 
to see, and they are seldom let off seeing him." 

"He is my godson," said Dora; and then the 
conversation flagged again, and Fluff b^an to 
entertain a very poor opinion of the Anglo-Indian 
intellect 

He thought better of the stranger by-and-by,* 



148 Under Love's Rule. 

when he came to afternoon tea in the Crescent, 
and made himself agreeable to Miss Perry, 
Miss Mewk, the Thomson governess, and three 
Thomson girls, and incidentally revealed a respect- 
able knowledge of cricket and the famous players 
thereof. 

The three Miss Thomsons — the eldest of whom 
was almost grown up— thought him delightful. 
His coming gave a new zest to everybody's life, 
and had certainly brought a deepened rose-bloom 
to Aunt Dora's cheeks — a fact unpleasantly com- 
mented upon by Fluff in the broad publicity of 
the circular tea-table at which they were all seated, 
five-o'clock tea in the Crescent being a solid, 
business-like meal. 

** You're blushing again. Auntie, just as you did 
that day you talked Hindustani," began Fluff. 
** She always blushes when she talks about India 
—Mr. — Mr.! Why, here we all are at tea, and 
we don't even know your name," he exclaimed, 
suddenly awakened to the absurdity of the 
situation. 

^'Ifs my fault,'' said Dora, confusedly; "I 



A Summer Island, 149 

ought to have introduced you all to Mr. Doyle — 
before we began tea. That is Eustace, Mr. Doyle, 
and this is Paul, and this little foolish boy is 
Frederick — sometimes called Fritz, and generally 
called Fluff." 

" Oh, you are Fluff, are you ? " asked Mr. Doyle. 
" You are the spoilt one. I have heard your Aunt 
Georgie talk about you." 

" My Aunt Georgie can mind her own business," 
retorted Fluff, becoming as red as a turkey-cock. 
** She had better look after her own baby " 

'' And spoil him just as your mother spoils you. 
Quite right. Fluff. She has begun the process 
already. He squalls loud enough to split the roof 
of the bungalow, if he doesn't get what he wants." 

Fluff nursed his anger at the new-comer's 
insolence for at least five minutes — but that sunny 
room with three French windows open wide to the 
blue summer sea, the scent of the roses in the 
balcony, the loaded tea-table with piles of freshly- 
baked scones, a sultana cake in good cut, and 
stacks of jam sandwiches, and the animated faces 
of the three Miss Thon^sons, s^nd above all t^e 



150 Under Love's Rule, 

Kttle Auntie's gentle influencei which always seemed 
to harmonize everything, made against anger ; so 
Fluff pocketed the affront, and took another slice 
of cake. 

After tea the whole party set out for a walk to 
Pegwell Bay, and this was the first of many such 
walks that the two families took with Clement 
Doyle as their leader. 

The boys found out very soon that, however 
they started upon their journey — even if Doyle led 
the van, while Aunt Dora brought up the rear — ^it 
happened somehow that before they were half-way 
towards their destination Clement Doyle and Dora 
Hampden were walking side by side. There were 
times when it seemed as if the little Auntie tried 
hard to evade this companionship. She would 
fence herself in with a nephew on either side, and 
^ Thomson girl marching in front of her, and 
Pincher skirmishing riotously round and round the^ 
group— and yet somehow five minutes afterwards 
she would be walking a little way in the rear of 
the party alone with Clement Doyle. It must 
have been his experience as an engineer which 



A Summer Island. 151 

enabled him to circumvent every manoeuvre of 
Aunt Dora and her nephews, who would insist 
before starting that she should not walk with 
Mr. Doyle. 

"You are not his aunt," Fluff urged indignantly. 
** He has no business to take you away from us." 

** No ! " assented Eustace moodily ; " but I'm 
afraid he will take her away some day — take her 
out to the Punjaub, or somewhere equally horrid, 
to live among the blacks." 

Paul, who never lost a chance of improving his 
elder brother, hastened to assure him that the 
inhabitants of the Punjaub were only a pale copper 
colour. 

** They're not white, at any rate — and Aunt 
Dora had much better stop among people of her 
own complexion." 

"She ain't going to India!" protested Fluff, 
stamping his foot. " She's going to stay with us, 
always — ^always — always." 

He finished with a burst of passionate tears as 
Aunt Dora came into the room dressed for walk- 
ing; and just at that moment Clement Doyle 



152 Under Love's Rule, 

appeared at the French window with a whole 
troop of Thomsons at his heels. He had contrived 
to get lodgings in the Crescent, and seemed to be 
always in the garden, within call of the Lerwicks 
and Thomsons, when he was not in the Lerwick 
drawing-room, 

" Auntie, you are not to go to India ! " screamed 
Fluff, as the lady entered by the door and the 
gentleman appeared at the window, "You are 
not to go. You're to be our Auntie always, and take 
care of us when Mother's too busy with her parties 
and things. Mother says you are never going to 
marry — and if you do go and get married and go 
to India it will be downright cheating." 

This time the colour in Aunt Dora's cheeks was 
like the crimson peony rather than the rose. 

" Shut up, you young booby," cried Paul. 
" Who said anything about Aunt going to India ? " 

" Stacie did. He said Mr. Doyle would take 
her to the Pun — something — all among the blacks. 
But she mustn't go. She belongs to us." 

So far as any notice of this speech went the 

-'^eer might have been stone deaf. He was 



A Summer Island. 153 

keenly interested in the appearance of a brig in 
full sail on the horizon, and was explaining every 
inch of her canvas to the Miss Thomsons. 

The excursion on this particular occasion was to 
Richborough Castle, five miles by road, hugging 
the coast, and then across a sleepy little river in a 
ferry-boat, and then a "jolly" walk over the 
fields. Paul and Fluff were to ride their shelties 
as far as the ferry, sharing them occasionally with 
Charlie, the smallest of the Thomsons, who, not 
being costumed for riding, exhibited a good deal 
of wrinkled stocking and an occasional inch of bare 
leg below the saddle. Everybody else was to walk, 
including little Miss Perry, who was not so good 
at walking as Aunt Dora, and sometimes found 
herself wondering whether she realized the advan- 
tage of living with a " carriage family," when she 
was continually on the march. 



154 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER X. 

DORA PERCEIVES A DIVIDED DUTY. 

Tandy had been sent in advance with the pony- 
cart and the lunch, a real picnic lunch — ^two 
baskets of substantial food, and a stone jar of 
ginger beer, and plenty of milk and methylated 
spirits for the afternoon tea. Everybody's mind 
had been brought to bear on those baskets ; and 
the Miss Thomsons and Miss Perry recapitulated 
their contents as they trudged along the level road 
beyond Pegwell Bay, with the wide-stretching 
turnip fields, and oats and barley on their right, 
and the low marshes on their left, skirting a sea 
that in the foreground lay calm and smooth, a dull 
purple expanse, brightening towards the horizon 
into a long line of translucent green. And along 
this low, sandy shore the sea was so shallow that 



A Divided Duty. i^yt^{ 

Pincher, having started in pursuit of a gull, was 
able to run out ever so far, a flash of living white- 
ness across the dark grey water ; and Ramsgat^ 
as they stopped to look back at it — ^the wooded 
cliffs on this side of P^fwell Bay, the higher 
cliffs beyond, dazzling white in the sun, the distant 
tower of the Granville, the windmill by the 
promenade — seemed just the one most enchanting 
place in the civilized world 

They passed the Sportsman — a little inn with a 
tea-garden — and Eustace wondered if it had any 
connection with the most interesting newspaper he 
knew of— that superior journal in which he had 
first seen his own name in print ; and after a walk 
which Miss Perry thought endless they came to a 
nice old roadside inn where, at the sign of the Red 
Lion, the ponies were taken possession of by an 
ostler, and the boys refreshed themselves with 
ginger beer and biscuits. 

Next came the passage of the river Stour, in a 
roomy old boat which let in more water and mud 
than Miss Perry thought agreeable, though she 
stood on a bench with Aunt Dora, safe out of the 



'156 Under Love's Rule. 

dirt, and with her slender form steadied by Mr. 
Doyle's strong hand, while with his other hand 
he sustained Aunt Dora. It was so narrow a 
stream that the ferry was hardly worth speaking 
about, and Eustace declared that the Elstree boy 
who won the long jump would have cleared it 
from bank to bank. 

Before them, when they had landed, there 
stretched a broad expanse of pasture, enclosed by 
blind ditches, and tall five-barred gates, but to the 
eye open as an Arabian desert Here in the deep 
rich grass dark red cattle and pale grey sheep were 
grazing in separate colonies ; and to keep these 
flocks and herds in their proper pastures the big 
gates were all jealously locked, and had to be 
climbed ; a light and easy process for country- 
bred Dora, a toilsome ordeal for Miss Perry, whose 
gown, neat and unpretending enough, was not 
tailor-made, and was far from "rational" when 
considered in relation to five-barred gates. 

There stood Richborough Castle in the distance, 
^^ a rising ground that only courtesy could call a 
^il't the Cyclopean walls so clothed with ivy that 



A Divided Duty. 157 

the ruin looked like a wood, and only here and 
there the grey stone showed pale against the dark 
green of that ivy curtain. A friendly woman came 
out of a cottage garden, gay with hollyhocks, to 
unlock the gates of the level crossing — ^the line 
running between those low pastures and the castle 
hill — ^and to unlock another gate that opened into 
a green lane under the walls : and if they had 
known of this good person's cottage they need have 
brought no apparatus for their picnic tea, as it was 
her delight to provide for visitors to the castle; 
but any such convenient arrangement would have 
been far inferior tQ their own spirit-lamp and tea- 
kettle, in Fluff's opinion. 

It was a real picnic. They had started soon 
after breakfast, and they were to spend the whole 
day on the walk to and fro, and within the old 
castle walls — such glorious walls for climbing, so 
broad and massive, and not alarmingly high, and 
with a picturesque break here and there. They 
found one such place just suited for spreading a 
table-cloth^-dazzling white in the sun — and setting 
out a homely feast ; a niche for everybody's feet, 



158 Under Lovers Rule. 

a comfortable stone for evetybody to sit upon, the 
countryside, the placid, simple, rural home-life of 
old England lying in summer stillness all around 
them, save yonder on the horizon where, blue and 
beautiful, stretched the summer sea, the watery 
way to everywhere, 

*Is that the way you would go to India?" 
Fluff asked Clement Doyle, pointing to the sea- 
ling silvery in the vivid light 

"Yes, Fluff; my ship would pass right in front 
of your windows, if I sailed from Tilbury in a 
P. and O." 

^ We'll look for you when you are passing, and 
you might wave your handkerchief— if we are still 
at Ramsgate when you go." 

** I am not going back just yet, Fluff ; not for a 
year." 

" What long holidays you get. Then we shan't 
^ in the Crescent when you go ; unless Mother 
lets Auntie bring us to Ramsgate again next year. 
Auntie will always take us to the seaside, don't 
you know," said Fluff, with intention. « She will 
*^ave to^because Mother can't" 



A Divided Duty. 159 

^ Oh, she will have to, will she ? " asked Clement 
Doyle, slowly puffing at his pipe. 

He and Fluff were sitting a little way from the 
rest, on an angle of the old wall, half buried in 
the ivy, Doyle having withdrawn to smoke, and 
Fluff having clambered after him to the green 
sanctuary. 

" Yes, she'll have to take us wherever we go," 
repeated Fluff, very seriously. " We've got other 
aunts, but she's the only aunt we care for ; and she 
means never, never, never to marry anybody, so 
that she can always take care of us." 

" Oh, is that what she means ? And when you 
are all grown up and married, and have children of 
your own to look afler — what will become of your 
little Auntie then ? " 

" Oh, she'll be awfully old then— and she'll be 
quite happy — with a Nangora cat — and Pincher — 
no, he'll be dead — another dog azackly like 
Pincher, perhaps his great-grandson — and a nice 
house by the sea where we can all go and stop 
with her every summer." 

" And after taking care of you while she's young. 



i6o Under Love's Rule. 

she'll have nobody to take care of her when she's 
getting elderly." 

** We shall all take care of her. I'm never going to 
marry. I hate girls. Those Thomsons are enough 
to sicken anybody. And perhaps," concluded Fluff, 
condescendingly, " I shall live with her." 

"Only perhaps," said Clement, gravely. "She 
is to spend all the best days of her life for you, 
on the strength of a perhaps. I suppose that is 
what women are meant for." 

"Of course, they're meant to take care of 
children, and look after boys," assented Fluff; 
" and as Auntie is never going to marry— -r " 

" But why shouldn't she marry ? " 

" Nobody has ever asked her. She isn't pretty, 
like the others, you know." 
* " Indeed I don't know." 

" Perhaps you think her pretty," Fluff said, with 
a shade of contempt in his voice. "You see, 
you're only accustomed to Indian women." 

" I think she has something better than mere 
prettiness. Fluff," the engineer answered, gravely. 
" I think she has the sweetest face in the world. 



A Divided Duty. i6t 

and the sweetest nature ; and that you must be a 
very selfish little boy if you don't wish for her 
happiness more than for your own convenience in 
having a nice little Aunt always at your beck and 
call." 

Here a whole bevy of Thomsons, shrieking and 
giggling as they clambered and stumbled over the 
ivy-covered stones, put a stop to confidential talk ; 
but Fluff pondered seriously upon all that Clement 
Doyle had said, and he felt that there was some- 
thing bad behind. He had suspected Sir Henr}r's 
cousin from the first mention of his name ; and 
now that cousin >vas beginning to show the cloven 
foot in real earnest Fluff thought still worse of 
Clement Doyle half an hour later when, after in-* 
augurating a game at hide-and-seek, which 
absorbed all the juvenile party, and even Miss 
Perty, he was descried suddenly in the distance 
strolling away towards Sandwich with Dora. 
They had vanished almost as silently as the world- 
famous Boojum. 

They came back to tea, and Fluff, who was as 
good at listening and watching as if he had been 



I 



1 62 Under Love's Rule. 

training for the detective police, noticed a change 
in his aunt's manner — a change from that bright 
Intelligence and deftness of hand, which enabled 
her to do everything better than everybody else, to 
absolute helplessness. She could not even make 
the kettle boil The methylated spirit was too 
much for her. The thin flames were blown about 
under the kettle in a most futile way, till Clement 
Doyle took the business in hand and engineered it 
through. She, who was usually the Princess of 
tea-makers, blundered with the teapot ; and she, 
who could cut the most enticing knobs and 
hunches of bread-and-butter— crusty pieces that 
would have tempted an anchorite — ^to-day could 
Iwurdly butter a halfpenny bun. 

Her wits had gone wool-gathering. Her fingers 
l^d lost their cunning. She gave Fluff a sudden 
^^S in the middle of tea, and he felt a tear drop 
upon his forehead as she drew his childish head to 
*ier breast, and for the rest of the meal she sat very 
*"" and silent, looking dreamily across the level 
"*^ to the distant sea, where the ships had golden 



A Divided Duty* 163 

If the six-year-old Fluff was able to note this 
change in his aunt's demeanour, it was not likely 
that it would escape the shrewd eyes of Stacie and 
Paul, although these two were more occupied by 
the Thomson girls and boys than their small 
brother. They were hungry, too, and flushed by 
the excitement of the games they had been play- 
ing. They felt that there was some new fever in 
the air ; and when they crossed the fields in the 
cool eventide, an hour after tea, Stacie was 
hardly surprised at his aunt's putting her arm 
through his and asking him to walk with her. 

" Wouldn't you rather walk with Doyle ? '' asked 
Stacie, maliciously. " It generally comes to that,- 
you know, before we've gone very far." 

Good-natured as Stacie was, he could not spare 
her this stab. They were all of them jealous of 
Clement Doyle. The Father of the Faithful could 
not be more anxious to keep his favourite Sultana 
under lock and key than these three nephews were 
to keep their aunt all to themselves. 

" No, dear, I want to walk with you, and only 
you. Mr. Doyle can look after the young ones." 



164 Under Love's Rule. 

" Like an usher/' laughed Stacie. ** That's about 
all he's fit for/' 

'* I want to tell you something, dear/' Dora said, 
softly, when they had crossed the Stour, and the 
party was well under weigh upon the road to 
Ramsgate, the Thomsons and Fincher ahead with 
Doyle, Paul and Fluff raising a prodigious dust on 
their shelties, and Miss Perry in the pony-cart 
with Tandy and the empty jars and baskets. 
They were carrying home nothing but empties ; 
for the gipsies, who haunt such places, had cleared 
out all their leavings, and gipsy babies had choked 
themselves with their surplus buns. 

" If it's anything about Doyle, I don't want to 
hear it," said Stacie, sternly. 

He prided himself upon dropping the "Mr." 
and talking of the engineer as * Doyle." It was 
his assertion of manhood. 

^ It is about myself, Stacie, and Mr. Doyle." 

*' Oh, of course ! He has talked you into getting 
yourself engaged to him. Fluff was right He 
saw through the fellow all along. Paul and I 
were too green." 



A Divided Duty. 165 

** Stacie, it isn't kind or nice of you to talk like 
that" 

"Ain't it ? Well, it isn't kind or nice of you to 
go and get yourself engaged to the first bounder 
who asks you to marry him." 

"It is very shameful of you to call him that 
insulting name," remonstrated Dora, who had but 
the vaguest notion of what the obnoxious word 
meant 

She knew only that her nephews applied it in 
contumely to almost everybody of the male sex. 

They walked on a little while in silence, and 
then Dora said half tearfully, " If you are going to 
be rude, Stacie, and if you are not interested in 
my happiness, I won't tell you anything more." 

" Of course I want you to be happy ; but why 
can't you go on being happy with us ? What do 
you want with a duffer like that coming in upon 
us to spoil everything? We all doat upon you, 
and when we are grown up and come into our 
fortunes, there's nothing in the world we won't 
give you. If you want a yacht, you can have it, 
directly I come of age— a schooner, with auxiliary 



1 66 Under Love's Rule. 

steam ; and I shall keep race-horses, not such 
crocks as father's ; and 111 take you to Newmarket 
and Doncaster ; and to Monte Carlo every winter ; 
and to Nice for the CamivaL I should study you 
in everything. And why spoil it all for an oiler 
like that ? If s maddening." 

** Eustace 1 If you go on calling him low vulgar 
names, 111 never speak to you again." 

'* Oh ! I'll call him a duke if you like. I shan't 
hate him any less. Why you should go and get 
yourself engaged to him is more than I can under- 
stand. For I suppose you are engaged to him ? " 

** Yes, dear. He asked me to be his wife — this 
afternoon. He is going to write to your grand- 
father to-night, and if my father consents " 

" Oh ! he'll consent fast enough ; fathers always 
do. I shouldn't like to ask Mr. Thomson for one 
of his daughters when I'm grown up. I should be 
afraid he'd offer me three." 

"But I hope you know, Stacie, that being 
engaged won't make the least difference in my 
love for you and your brothers." 

*Only the difference of from here to the 



A Divided Duty, 167 

Funjaub ; for I suppose you'll have to go to India 
with him. He's got to get his living in India^ and 
you'll have to go and keep house for him ; and no 
doubt you'll think yourself happy when thpre 
isn't a panther in your garden— K:ompound, those 
asses call it-^or a cobra under your pillow, or 
millions of red ants eating your furniture. Per- 
haps you like the idea of living in the Zoological 
Gardens, with the temperature of the palm-house 
atKew?" 

^' I don't like the idea of lesmng you and your 
brothers, Stacie." 

" Gammon ! If you wanted to stay with us, you 
wouldn't promise to go with him," said Eustace ; 
and even to Dorothea's mind there was stem logic 
in this bitter speech. 

She was making her choice in life. It must 
needs be that she loved her newly-betrothed better 
than father, and sisters, and nephews ; better than 
these boys to whom she had given the best part 
of her thoughts and of her heart hitherto. She 
was a deserter ; and she felt herself called up for 
judgment before this thirteen-year-old nephew, aod| 



1 68 Under Love's Rule. 

found guilty, without extenuating circumstances. 
She had loved these boys because they had need 
of her love. With all the advantages that wealth 
could give they had wanted much that the children 
of parents in far humbler circumstances generally 
reckon upon with as great a certainty as upon the 
air they breathe. They had lacked a father's 
thoughtful supervision, a mother's watchful care. 
They had been loved after a fashion — as lap-dogs 
and birds in cages are loved — cherished tenderly 
one day, almost forgotten the next. Foolish in- 
dulgence had been lavished upon them. They 
had been trained to consider luxuries as absolute 
necessities. They were tired of things of which 
the briefest possession would have filled middle* 
class boys with rapture. 

Dora had seen how all the best things in life 
were lacking to these children. She had tried in 
her own gentle way to awaken her sister to a 
sense of maternal duty, and she had even talked 
seriously to Mr. Lerwick, who heard her with 
delightful good temper, and laughed off her 
suggestions in the pleasantest way possible. He 



A Divided Duty. 169 

knew he was a careless beggar, and didn't lecture 
his boys as he ought ; but in a few years they'd 
be old enough to lecture hinii and take care of 
him. They'd never have to work for their living. 
That was one comfort 

Dora found how hopeless it is to argue with a 
pair of feather-headed people who think that 
pleasure and idleness are the chief good in life. 
Father and mother were both amiable and well- 
meaning ; but the idea of parental duty had never 
shaped itself in the mind of either parent To be 
indulgent, to lavish gifts, constituted their ideal of 
parental affection. And seeing these things, Dora 
told herself that it was her duty to make up the 
sum of thoughtful love which was deficient in her 
sister's household. Since the birth of her youngest 
nephew she had spent nearly half her life in her 
sister's nursery. She had gladly accepted the 
office of spinster-aunt, and had asked nothing 
better of fate than to be loved by her sister's 
children. She had been taught to think herself 
an unattractive little person, had been accustomed 
to bear herself compared di3paragingly with her 



'70 Under Love's Rule* 

handsome sisters, and had made up her mind that 
^1 the sweet trouble and confusion of a love-affair, 
^ the fuss and flutter of a trousseau and wedding 
gown, were to be a dead letter for her. Nobddy 
would ever care for the poor little plain sister; 
and nobody should ever see that the poor little 
plain sister was sorry for her fate. She made up 
her mind that she was to be an old maid; and 
having settled this with herself once and for ever, 
^ she thought, she became by far the brightest 
and gayest and most even-tempered of the 
Hampden sisters. 

And then one fine summer day, like the vision 
of a sunlit glade in an enchanted forest, there had 
opened before her a new vista of life, a new view 
of the world in which her lot was cast. She had 
discovered suddenly that she, too, might be loved. 
This clever good man, successful in his profession, 
popular in his family, a man with excellent 
prospects in life — nay, every chance of a dis- 
tinguished career— cared for her as much as if 
she had been the handsomest of her sisters; 
Georgiana even, the flower of the flock, with whom 



A Divided Duty. 171 

he had ample opportunity for comparing her in- 
significant person. 

Very little had been said in those] golden days 
at Mill Fark^ and then after the honeymoon 
Clement Doyle had accompanied Sir Henry and 
Lady Mandeville to India ; but before he left he 
had made a special journey to Devonshire, and 
had come over from the new hotel at Bideford 
one morning as if he had dropped from the clouds, 
and had startled Dorothea in the midst of a 
morning walk with her dogs. She was the last of 
the sisters ; and the highly-accomplished finishing 
governess, whose chief conversation was about 
frocks and hats and the neighbouring gentry, had 
been paid off. So Dora had only the dogs for 
company. Her father was one of those rural 
squires who might as well have been bom on four 
legs ; since the only use they ever make of two is 
to take them to their parish church on Sunday 
mornings. Dora hardly knew what it was to go 
for a walk with her father. 

Clement Doyle had come to Devonshire ex« 
pressly to bid her good-bye, and to ask her if she 



172 Under Love's Rule. 

would wait for hinu That was all he had asked. 
Would she wait for three or|four years, till he 
could come back to claim her? He had an im- 
portant work to finish in Upper India, and the 
life he would have to lead under canvas while that 
work was in progress was a rougher life than he 
would like to share with his young wife. 

If she should wait for him ? 

If I She had but to look in his face with those 
earnest eyes of hers, and lay her hand in his, for 
him to know that she would wait a lifetime. 

And so they had parted, that October morning, 
between the tall hedgerows where the berries were 
reddening for the ravenous winter birds, within the 
sound of the sea that rolls up to Bideford Bay. 
So they had parted, not absolutely engaged ; only 
waiting for each other. Nobody had been told 
anything. Dorothea had kept her little secret 
The lovers had only written to each other at long 
intervals, and the letters that passed between 
them were hardly love-letters. But now this day, 
between Richborough and the sea, the promise of 
three years ago had been ratified by another 



A Divided Duty. 173 

promise : the promise of two lives that were to be 
as one. 

Dora and Eustace had walked on for nearly ten 
minutes in silence before the boy discovered that 
his aunt was crying. 

** Come, come, little Auntie, that won't do," he 
exclaimed, melted in a moment at the sight of 
those tears. " You mustn't cry. I was a beastly 
selfish beggar to talk like that Of course you 
must marry him if you like— only I wonder you 
do like. I can't see any particular points about 
him — though he is a good over-hand bowler," 
interjected Stacie, musingly, remembering a certain 
cricket match in which Mr. Doyle's services had 
been enlisted. "And if you think you'll be as 
happy in India as you have been in England — of 
course you must do what you like. I was a rude 
beast to rag you about getting engaged. Why," 
— with a sudden touch of scorn — " Perry will be 
getting herself engaged next— or old Warren." 

«' Does it seem so very strange, Stacie, that any 
one should care about me ? " 

"No, no; I didn't mean that Only I didn't 



174 Under Love's Rule. 

think you were the marrying sort Well, I shall 
be at Harrow next year, and I shall be out of it 
You won't be married yet awhile, I suppose ? " 

** I hope not for a year, Stacie." 

** You hope not ! You can do as you like about 
it, can't you ? He's not going to tyrannise over 
you before you're married." 

* I don't think he will ever be a tyrant, dear." 

"Don't you? All engaged girls think their 
geese are swans. I know it was sickening to hear 
Aunt Georgie talk about Sir Henry when they 
were staying at Heatherside before they were 
married ; and still more sickening to see the way 
she waited upon him, and mended his gloves, and 
fussed when he cut his finger." 

" I promise not to make a fuss about my sweet*- 
heart, unless he is seriously hurt And you will 
try to like Clement, won't you, Stacie, for my 
sake ? " 

"Clement! Are you going to call him 
Clement?" 

" I think he would like me to do so." 

"Oh, you are going to be a regular engaged 



A Divided Duty. 175 

couple, I see. There'll be no end ^of spooning. 
As to liking him, we all like him well enough ; 
but we don't like his sneaking after you. And if 
we come to Ramsgate next year, you won't be 
with us. We shall have old Warren, perhaps, 
instead — somebody Mother can trust It'll be 
beastly slow. I think I'd rather spend the vac. 
in London, and do a round of the theatres in the 
front row of the pit, with Tandy. And he can 
shove. He'd be worth his place as a forward, if 
he only had the weight" 

'^Oh, you must have your seaside holiday, 
dear. Perhaps I may not be married till after 
next summer — or if I am, Mother would bring 
you." 

^' Catch her I She won't leave Palatine Square 
till after Goodwood, and after Goodwood she'll be 
going off to Homburg for her cure. She ain't the 
least little bit ill, but directly the London parties 
are all over, her doctor tells her she wants tone. 
Then off she goes to Homburg, with four American 
trunks, and she dines on the Kursaal Terrace 
every night among military bands and fireworks, 



176 Under Love's Rule. 

and we are sent to Heatherside with old Warren 
to look after us." 

Aunt Dora rebuked Stacie for this rude mention 
of this worthy lady, and he promised to call her 
Miss Warren in future, whenever he could think 
of it 

" The other comes much more natural/' he said, 
apologetically. 

" I can't think how it is that vulgarity comes 
naturally to all schoolboys, whether they live in 
Palatine Square or in Camberwell. I'm sure the 
Camberwell boys can't be any worse than you." 

" Oh, can't they ? You should hear 'em. Auntie. 
We played against a cad-eleven once, and you 
should have heard 'em ask 'for the toime,' and 
you should have seen 'em eat, and the warts on 
their hands. I think those boys beat the record 
for warts," 

Dora preached a little sermon about the respon- 
sibilities of boys whose parents give them every- 
thing in the world they want She also told him 
how many of England's greatest men had begun 
their lives in just such seminaries as those which 



A Divided Duty. 177 

he called cad-schools ; and how the boys and men 
most to be respected were those who did most 
for themselves, and owed very little to their 
parents. 

He heard her politelyi but was hardly convinced. 

*' Fm afraid you're a horrid little Rad, Auntie, 
in spite of your Primrose brooch," he said. " Is 
Doyle a Rad, too ? " 

" No, dear. He's a Unionist" 

" Ah, that's worse — so beastly middle-class." 

"He used to work in one of the University 
Missions before he went to India, and he is 
thoroughly in touch with the working classes." 

*' Is he ? Then I hope he don't mind their dirty 
hands." 

'* His knowledge of the poor has been of great 
use to him in his up-country work, for though 
an English workman and a low-class Hindoo 
are very different, they are both human beings, 
and they have some things in common, and 
Clement has been able to attach those poor 
creatures to him, and to get their very best work 
out of them." 



178 Under Love's Rule. 

*' Ah, he stuffs you up with all his fine doings, 
no doubt" 

"No, Stacie. It was Aunt Georgie who told 
me about him." 

"Ahl Aunt Georgie is like the fox in the 
fable. She's got to be broiled alive in India 
herself; and she*d like you to go out and be 
cooked in the same oven." 

They were near Pegwell Bay by this time, and 
Clement Doyle dropped back a little, and joined 
Dora and her nephew ; and Stacie, feeling some- 
what conscience-stricken at the thought of his 
harshness to the best of aunts, ran on to overtake 
the Thomsons, and left Dora and her lover to a 
tite-A-tite. No doubt, in spite of all their talk 
this afternoon along the grassy levels by the sea, 
in a Paul Potter landscape, where the drowsy 
cattle never lifted their heads to look at them, 
these happy lovers had worlds to say to each 
other this evening, if it were only to expatiate 
upon the splendour of the sunset 



( '79 ) 



CHAPTER XL 

MAKING THE BEST OF IT. 

** So she married the barber," cried Stacie, in his 
boyish voicei as he ran out on to the Imperial 
lawn next morning before breakfast, and dis- 
covered his Aunt Dora pacing slowly in front of 
the dining-room windows with Clement Doyle at 
her side. ''So she married the barber, at St 
James's, Piccadilly; and the wedding presents 
were on view with tea and buns all the afternoon 
in Palatine Square ; and the grand Panjandrum 
didn't come to the wedding — because the barber 
wasn't in his set« you see." 

These were Stacie's morning spirits. Life 
seemed so lovely upon that breezy height, with 
summer wavelets scarcely crisped in the soft 
west windj and with the curving coast between 



i8o Under Love's Rule. 

Ramsgate and Deal wrapped in cool shadow, the 
presage of fine weather. A fine healthy boy 
couldn't feel sorry about anything on such a 
morning as this ; and Stacie had the happiest 
disposition and the warmest heart among the 
three brothers. 

Clement Doyle clapped a friendly hand on his 
shoulder. 

** Well, youngster, what's the matter with you ? *• 

^Nothing's the matter — at least, nothing that 
can be helped now. Only I should like to have 
everything fair and square, don't you know, about 
you and the little Auntie, before " 

" Before you give your consent ? " laughed 
Doyle. 

"Eg-zackly," replied Stacie, with a pause be- 
tween the syllables ; " I dare say you think that 
I and my brothers have no right to be consulted ; 
but we just have, you see; because, before you 
came sneaking along '* 

"Oh, Stacie!" 

*' Let him talk, Dora. He means no harm. I 
know the vocabulary." 



Making the Best of it. i8i 

" Auntie belonged to us. She had only a fusty 
old father down in Devonshire." 

" Eustace ! " 

"She didn't even pretend to care about him," 
pursued Stacie, deaf to remonstrances. " She had 
only us, and she doted on us— didn't you now, 
little Auntie ? " 

" No more than I do now, dearest" 

" Fudge ! If I brought home a Dandy Dinmont 
do you think Pincher would believe I cared as 
much about Aim as I did when he was my only 
dog ? And do you expect me to have less gump- 
tion than a fox-terrier ? No, Aunt Dora, you have 
gone and got yourself engaged. It's a chouse 
for us; but you've done it; and we had better 
look the business straight in the face." 

And then turning to Clement Doyle, he asked 
with his most completely grown-up air, "When 
do you mean to get married, you two ? " 

** I mean what your Aunt means, Eustace. Our 
wedding-day can't come too soon for me. I should 
like to be married next October, and to take my 
wife for a long honeymoon by the Mediterranean." 



1 82 Under Love's Rule. 

*' She'll have enough of the Mediterranean when 
you're taking her to India, to be baked as black 
as a coal," said Stacie. ** I wonder you can have 
the impudence to talk about next October." 

"Don't excite yourself, dear," pleaded Dora, 
putting a caressing arm round her nephew's neck. 
He was only two or three inches shorter than the 
little Auntie. ** I am not going to break my word, 
I am not going to be married till my nephews are 
a year older. And when you are at Harrow, 
Stacie, you won't care about being petted and 
looked after by an aunt" 

"Oh yes I shall. I shall like the rough-and- 
tumble at school ; but when I have had a bone 
broken at footer, who will there be to nurse me at 
home ? " 

" Well, there'd be your mother," said Doyle. 

"Mother! She'd go into hysterics at sight of 
broken bones, and forget all about them next 
morning. The little Auntie is the only relation 
we have who knows what's the matter with us 
when we're ill, or the kind of things we like when 
we're well. Don't make any mistake about it, 



Making the Best of it. 183 

Mr. Doyle. You are going to take away just the 
one person we want" 

" I'm sorry your affections haven't a wider range. 
But a year is a long time; and when I do take 
your aunt away I hope it won't be for ever, or for 
many years. We shall come back soon enough to 
visit you at Oxford when you are an undergrad, 
perhaps. I suppose it will be the House, and 
the BuUingdon Club, for you oof-birds." 

** It'll be the House, of course. And I hope 
they'll elect me for the Bullingdon. Well, you 
are to be married October twelve months, or there- 
abouts ; at the worst, not before the end of August, 
next yean" 

'^I don't know if my extension of leave will 
stretch to that, Stacie — they may want to begin 
the new railway in June, and if so, I shall have to 
go in May." 

^If you have, you must go alone, then. She 
said she wasn't going to marry for at least a year, 
and she'll have to keep her word." 

''There's the gong for breakfast sounding a 
second time, and there's Miss Ferry on the 



184 Under Love's Rule. 

look-out for you," said Doyle. **I suppose you 
won't grudge me a cup of tea and a slice of bread- 
and-jam, if I join you at breakfast ? " 
* Auntie is the mistress of the house." 
Dora's sweetheart went into the dining-room 
with them, and dropped into a chair on Dora's 
side of the table, a seat which he occupied at so 
many meals as the summer days went by, that it 
soon came to be known as his place, and no one 
else ever tried to appropriate it He was rarely 
privil^ed to sit quite next to Dora, as Fluff put 
in a claim to the place on her right hand, and 
squeezed himself resolutely between her and her 
future husband, while Stacie claimed to sit on her 
left Paul, as being learned and self-sufficient, was 
left out in the cold, and lectured them all from 
the opposite side of the table, where he sat next 
Miss Perry, who was enchanted with the novel 
aspect of things, and took the keenest interest in 
the lovers. She was of a mild and retiring dis- 
position, which is peculiarly adapted to looking on 
at the drama of life. She had never had a sweet- 
heart of her own ; but she had fed her young 



Making the Best of it. 185 

fancy upon the most sentimental novels; and it 
was a delight to her to sit on the remotest window- 
seat, absorbed in a satin-stitch tea-cloth, while 
the lovers talked together in confidential murmur- 
ings, of which only an occasional sentence reached 
her ear. 



1 86 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER XII. 

MRS, LERWICK PHILOSOPHIZES. 

Mrs. Lerwick came down to Imperial Crescent 
on a flying visit, just before starting for Marienbad 
for her cure, while her husband went to Royat for 
his cure — it being an essential point among really 
'^ smart " people that the husband and wife should 
never go to the same place to be cured. It is only 
the dowdy couples, the Darbys and Joans, who 
creep about the same health resort, and sit side 
by side day after day at the same tadle cChdte. 

Mrs. Lerwick was in despair at the idea of 
Dora's engagement, and was inclined to be 
indignant with her youngest sister for contem- 
plating marriage, though she did not express 
herself quite as frankly as her sons. 

" You are the last person I should have thought 



Mrs. Lerwick philosophizes. 187 

of marrying, and he is the last person I should 
have thought you would like," she said. 

" Do you consider him such a very disagreeable 
person ? " Dora asked, with a wounded air. 

"Oh dear no; I think him most agreeable — 
quite a striking personality — but not a bit your 
style." 

" What do you think my style would be, Nell ? " 

" Oh, something very different : a churchy person 
—a clergyman, perhaps — and a good deal older 
than yourself— middle-aged, and thoughtful, and 
—and — ^rather short — some one more'^ like Mr, 
Bolger." 

Bolger was a senbr curate who had been silently 
devoted to Dora in her earliest girlhood, had hung 
about her in the schools, and had insisted on 
lending her his favourite books — books that were 
far too dry for her youthful taste. Dora had 
been chaffed about Bolger, and Bolger's attentions 
had been held up to contempt and ridicule, and 
Bolger's person and manners had been treated as 
a joke by the whole of the Hampden family ; and 
now it was a hard thing for Dora to be told that 



1 88 Under Love's Rule. 

a person resembling Mr. Bolger would be her 
style. 

** I see you think Clement a great deal too good 
for me,'' she said, with a faint little laugh. 

^ Oh dear no, not too good He is very hand- 
some certainly, and I dare say youll find him a 
bit of a flirt in India ; but you have read Rud}^ard 
Kipling's stories, and you know what jrouVe got 
to expect Oh no, dear, he is not too good for 
you. Father wrote and told me you and he will 
be just comfortably off— you'll have bread-and- 
cheese to start with. And then by-and-by he 
may get on, and get a really fine appointment 
I hear there are great openings for an engineer 
who has made a little bit of a name for himself, 
as Mr. Doyle has ; and altogether I congratulate 
you, darling." 

Mrs. Lerwick punctuated her congratulations 
with a kiss. 

" How do you like my hat ? " she asked, paren* 
thetically. " It's the new shape." 

** It's very pretty. But is it really different from 
the last?" 



Mrs. Lerwick philosophizes. 189 

"Really different? Why, it's an utterly new 
style. They haven't a curve in common. Yes, 
dear, I congratulate you — ^but I'm very sorry for 
the boys. They'll miss you woefully." 

'* Not if you give them a little more of your 
time, Nell. I dare say you will be going out less 
as you get older." 

*' Less ! Why, of course, I shall be going out 
ever so much more every year of my life. We 
know more people every season, don't you know 
— and better people. Indeed, we are gradually 
getting into a really nice set — a set that it pays 
one to entertain thoroughly well; even if one 
doesn't get very intimate with them. Of course, 
I don't pretend to be a leader. Nobody less than 
a Peeress can be that But still people have 
talked about me, and about my frocks; and — 
and— Belle puts me among the pretty people; 
and the flowers at my last evening party were 
described in all the really good society papers. 
In fact, as Tony says, we are beginning to 
catch on." 

The phrase was Hebrew to Dora. She could 



IQO Under Love's Rule. 

only open her pretty grey eyes a little wider, and 
wait for her loquacious sister to draw breath. 

"We are getting to count among the really 
smart people, and goodness knows what mayn't 
happen next year. I am inclined to think that 
Tony ought to go into the House. Not that 
there's any distinction in that nowadas^s ; but it 
brings a man shoulder to shoulder with important 
people. And Tony is a staunch Conservative, 
though he knows absolutely nothing about 
politics." 

** And the boys — are they never to see anything 
of you ? " asked Dora, despairingly. " Are they 
to know less and less of their father and mother 
as the years go on ? " 

*' Don't gush, Dora I You are so absurdly senti- 
mental. The boys will be at school and at the 
'Varsity for the next ten years ; and that is just 
the time in which Tony and I can enjoy ourselves, 
and occupy a proper place in society. When 
Eustace leaves Oxford he will be able to go to 
parties mth me — and we shall be inseparable. 
I dare say I shall have given up waltzing by that 



I 



Mrs. Lerwick philosophizes. 191 

time; though I may sometimes stand up in a 
square — with extra nice people/' concluded Mrs. 
Lerwick, having a vision of Royalties gliding 
gracefully through a condescending quadrille. 

Dora's spirits sank very low after this conversa- 
tion with her sister. It was to such a mother as 
this, and to a father who was a nullity, that she 
was to leave the boys she loved. She was to leave 
them with their minds unformed, their characters 
waiting for the moulder's hand, fortified and braced 
by no better influence than the schoolboy's elastic 
code of honour — truth and loyalty to pals, any- 
thing to masters. She was to leave them in a 
home where religious influences were limited to 
Sunday morning service at a fashionable and over- 
crowded church. She was to leave them to the 
hazard of hired teachers, the chance of finding 
good or evil guides. She was to leave them 
amidst the worst possible surroundings — a luxu- 
rious home, ruled for the most part by servants. 

She had given Clement Doyle her promise; 
and what woman who at the mature age of seven- 
and-twenty loves and is fondly loved again can 



192 Under Love's Rule. 

break the promise given to her first lover? She 
would have made any sacrifice for her nephews^ 
except the sacrifice of the man who was far dearer 
to her than herself. And yet in the midst of 
her happiness this cloud of fear for Ellinor 
Lerwick's children hung heavily over her. She 
tried to hope that the mother's better nature 
would develop as time went on^ that satiety would 
come even in Palatine Square, that no woman 
could go on dancing and dressing and gadding 
from one gaudy scene to another, season after 
season, and not find the hoUowness in the drum, 
the dust and ashes at the core of the golden fruit. 
Satiety must come by-and-by, and her sister's 
heart and mind would be awakened to the know* 
ledge of those better and sweeter pleasures that 
women find who live most in their children's 
lives. 

In the meantime there was a year — a whole 
year — in which to try and fortify these boys with 
the armour of manly honour and manly common 
sense, so that the evil example of frivolous parents 
and over-paid servants might pass them by, and 



Mrs. Lerwick philosophizes. 193 

leave them unspoilt, firm in good principles and 
right feeling, and able to understand what are the 
really precious things of this life. There was time, 
perhaps, to draw them very near to her, to make 
them see as she saw and think as she thought, if 
she were but permitted to spend the greater portion 
of the year with them. It was in no self-sufficiency 
that she thought of herself as a good influence in 
her nephews* lives. She was not puffed up with 
any notion of her own superiority. She thought 
of herself only as one who had not been caught 
in the fly-wheel of the society machine, who had 
not been spoilt by riches or the flattery of foolish 
people, who stood outside all the temptations 
which had made EUinor Lerwick the woman she 

* 

was. 

'* There is no merit in my not caring for fashion 
and gaiety," she told herself. " They have never 
been within my reach." 

She could count upon her father's willingness 
to let her spend as much of her life as she liked 
with her sister's children. He was a man who 
hunted three days a week, all through the hunting 



t94 tJndef Love's Rule. 

season, and needed no amusement in the evening* 
She would be allowed to spend her autumn at 
Heatherside, and to have the boys at Mill Park 
for their Christmas holidays. She was the mistress 
of her own life. Mr. Hampden had not accustomed 
himself to depend upon his daughters for society 
or amusement He had never encouraged them 
to care for riding, lest they should take it into 
their heads to want to hunt, and so lessen the 
comfort of his own three days a week, or deprive 
him of a second horse when he wanted one. He 
had seen them marry and leave hfm, one after 
another, without a pang ; and though he wrote to 
Clement Doyle of his ** one ewe lamb," and affected 
to give a regretful consent to Dora's engagement, 
his satisfaction might be read between the lines 
of his letter. 

''My daughters have all married young, and 
they have married gentlemen," he wrote. " I am 
proud of my sons-in-law. And I am happy to 
know that my youngest darling — my one ewe 
lamb — ^has chosen as worthily as her elder sisters." 

Dora, brooding over this letter, could not help 



Mrs. Lerwick philosophizes. 195 

wondering what her father found to be proud of 
in Tony Lerwick, whose fortune had been made 
for him by his father and grandfather, and whose 
highest earthly ambition was to own a Derby 
winner. 



196 Under Love's Rule« 



CHAPTER XIII. 

IN THE GOLDEN AUTUMN. 

During the day and a half that she was able to 
spare for domesticity, Mrs. Lerwick arranged die 
future movements of her children, in her rather 
sketchy way. Her presence had a deteriorating 
influence upon Fluff, who had been as good as 
gold until her arrival, and who b^;an to be 
naughty five minutes after she crossed the 
threshold. The only quiet time in Imperial 
Crescent was the evening hour after this exacting 
young person had gone to bed, under convoy of 
Miss Ferry, and had been read to sleep with a 
half-hour fairy tale by Aunt Dora, who mado 
it a point that no story she read to Fluff when 
his head was on the pillow should last more 
than half an hour. Knowing tliis. Fluff made a 



In the Golden Autumn. 197 

conscientious effort to fall asleep towards the end 
of the story, keeping very still, with his limbs lying 
loosely where they fell, and abstaining from all 
thought of to-morrow. Pittman had vainly urged 
that it was bad for little boys to have their minds 
*'egzited" after they were in bed. Aunt Dora 
was always polite, but she was not in the habit of 
accepting Fittman's judgment about anything ; 
and in long conversations below-stairs the nurse 
complained bitterly of the slights to which she was 
subjected, and asked what was the use of twenty 
years' experience with children, in the houses of 
the aristocracy, if her knowledge and experience 
were to be set at naught by a chit of a girl like 
Miss Hampden ? 

*' But little Fritz have picked up wonderful since 
she come," pleaded Sarah ; '* and she do seem to 
have a clever head on her, and to manage those 
three unruly boys beautiful. To see the dinners 
they make, too— it's a pleasure to take 'em a 
second help of roast mutton." 

" They eat a great deal too much," said nurse, 
scurly ; ** and I expect we shall have them all in 



198 Under Love's Rule. 

the doctor^s hands directly we get back to the 
Square.** 

" Not directly, nurse," said Sarah ; "it'll take a 
fortnight of your management to bring *em to 
that" 

And then Sarah, whom nurse had hectored for 
tardy home-coming on her last evening out, laughed 
the laugh of scorn ; and Tandy the groom, who 
was picking a casual bit of dinner at the indoor 
servants* table, chuckled audibly. Nurse Fittman 
was not a favourite. She had none of cook's large 
powers ; and she gave herself more airs than cook, 
on the strength of doing less work. 

Cook in Imperial Crescent, be it understood, 
was only kitchen-maid in Palatine Square, where 
her understudy, the vegetable-maid, was now 
assisting the cltef^ and qualifying to take service 
as a forty-pound professed cook. ''Soups, 
entries^ jellies, ices." 

Fluff had been read to sleep by an inoffensive 
Grimm's Goblin story, which had nothing either 
grim or goblinish about it ; and Dora had returned 
to the drawing-room, where Stade and Paul were 



In the Golden Autumn. 199 

sitting on each side of their mother's low easy* 
chair, and petting Spitz, upon whom they certainly 
lavished the greater part of their caresses. Spitz 
lay in his mistress's silken lap, and graciously 
submitted to be worshipped, giving a soft, hairy 
paw languidly to each of his adorers, with a con- 
descending bend of his leg. 

"We shall be away for nearly a month," said 
Mrs. Lerwick to her sister, '' and I shall only stay 
for a night or two in Palatine Square when I come 
from the Continent, just to see about my winter 
frocks, and then go down to Dorsetshire. Your 
time will be finished here at the end of Stacie's 
holidays. I have written to Miss Warren, and she 
will be settled in her lodgings by the time the 
servants go to Heatherside, and ready to begin 
work with Paul." 

Paul made a wry face. He was very proud of 
his book-learning ; but he was not grateful to the 
lady who taught him. 

" Are we to be at Heatherside alone, with only 
Miss Warren and Perry ? " he asked, with a dis- 
gusted air« 



It 



200 Under Love's Rule. 

He deferred so far to his aunt's opinion as to 
call his governess Miss Warren, but he could not 
bring himself to be equally polite in his mention 
of the nurseiy governess, whom everybody felt to 
be so very little above a nursemaid. 

*'She don't wear caps and aprons, and she 
don't look half as clean as the housemaids. 
That's the only difference," Paul had said, con- 
temptuously, when the poor little governess was 
discussed. 

*' Can Aunt Dora stay at Heatherside till she's 
going to be married ? " asked Paul. 

" Your Aunt will be very busy. • She will have 
her trousseau to think of." 

''Why, she won't take a year to think about 
that," cried Stacie, contemptuously. " She don't 
bother her mind about frocks as you do. 
Mother. You will come to Heatherside, won't 
you. Auntie ? " 

Auntie replied with a hug, which Stacie accepted 
as Yes. 

** Of course I shall be charmed for you to be 
there," said Mrs. Lerwick, ** only I'm afraid you'll 



In the Golden Autumn. 201 

be awfully bored. As a rule, engaged girls find life 
a burden without their sweethearts." 

" I don't think I should ever find life a burden 
with my nephews. And perhaps^ when you and 
Tony are at Heatherside for the shooting, you'll 
let Mr. Doyle come to lunch or to tea now and 
then. He might happen to be stopping in the 
neighbourhood." 

*' No doubt he will happen to be wherever you 
are. Poor Dora ! What fun you are with your 
first sweetheart ! Yes, he shall come. Tony shall 
ask him with the shooters; and he shall stay as 
long as he likes. It shall not be a case of no 
followers allowed." 

" No followers allowed," echoed Stacie. ** That's 
what it ought to be. What does Auntie want 
with followers when she has us ? " 

There was a chorus of regrets among the 
Thomsons and Lerwicks at the Ramsgate station 
when the three boys and their aunt left for London. 
The Lerwicks would have liked to stay at Rams- 
gate all the year round. The Thomsons declared 



202 Under Lovers Rule. 

they hated the Isle of Thanet, and envied the 
Lerwicks for going to London, and then to 
Dorsetshire. 

* London is the jolliest place in the world/' 
protested the Thomson girls ; ** the shops are quite 
too lovely — and the theatres must be awfully nice.** 

^ The theatres are all I care about in London/* 
said one of the Thomson boys, who had been once 
in his life to Drury Lane in the pantomime season. 
''There's always something new coming out 
When I'm reading for the Bar I shall be a regular 
first-nighter." 

Stacie wanted to know what a first-nighter was, 
and Pauli who affected universal knowledge, would 
not allow Harry Thomson to explain, but cut in 
with a description of a smart audience at the 
Lyceum, taken straight from last week's World. 

" Ah," said Stacie, ^ I shouldn't care a blow who 
was in the stalls if the piece was a good *un, with 
Irving and Ellen Terry, or Toole and Eliza John- 
stone acting in it. I shouldn't go to see the news- 
paper men and the professional beauties. They 
ain't in my line." 



In the Golden Autumn, 203 

*' Certainly not the newspaper men," sneered 
Paul, " for they have to be able to spell.*' 



Aunt Dora went straight home to Mill Park to 
report herself to her father, and to refit for the 
autumn,, and rejoined her nephews at Heatherside 
a fortnight after they left Kamsgate, in a neat little 
russet frock that repeated the colouring of the 
frost-touched beeches, and a neat little hat to 
match, with a grouse- claw mounted in silver which 
somebody had sent her from Scotland 

*' Did Uncle Clem, send you that thing in your 
hat ? " asked Fluff, with his accustomed pertness. 

Dora's bright blush was a sufficient reply. And 
on being further questioned, she told her nephews 
that Clement Doyle was shooting in Argyllshire, 
and that he would not appear at Heatherside till 
the second week in October. 

"Then he'll miss father's best shoot," said Paul, 
" for he's sure to have a lot of fellows here for the 
first*' 

There arc halcyon days in every life, and that 
autumn season at Heatherside will always be 



204 Under Love's Rule. 

remembered by Dorothea and her nephewSi and by 
Ellinor Lerwick, as one of those bright and smiling 
intervals — a period in which all was pleasantness 
and peace — days of contentment undarkened by 
any dread of the future, spoilt by no idle yearnings 
for change or excitement 

Paul welcomed Miss Warren more amiably than 
usual, and attacked Todhunter and Virgil with 
equal gusto after his long fallow. He seemed, 
indeed, to relish his lessons as he had never relished 
them before. 

'^Ramsgate has done you good, young man,*' 
said the practical lady, when Paul had construed a 
page of the "iEneid " without a hitch. " Ozone is 
a capital thing for the intellect" 

" Oh, I'm rather glad to get back to my work," 
answered Paul, carelessly. *' I don't suppose young 
Billy Pitt ever had such a long holiday." 

" Not he. They ground hard, and they caned 
hard under the Georges," said Miss Warren. 

Paul had the early morning for a ramble or a 
ride, and the whole afternoon for his own amuse- 
ment Four hours' work between nine and one 



In the Golden Autumn. 205 

took him over a good deal of ground, Miss Warren 
devoting half that time to severe work — Latin, 
Greek, and mathematics — and the other half to 
what she called literature, which included modem 
languages — taught more out of books than out of 
dry-as-dust grammars — and history, studied in the 
newest and best writers — Green, Froude, Lecky, 
Stubbs, Freeman, and Gardiner. Paul was fond 
of history, and fond of literature in its best forms. 
He was not one of those boys who can read only 
boys' books. His imagination did not require to 
be for ever stimulated by stories of shipwreck and 
adventure. North American red-skins, or Polar 
bears. Scott's novels had been his favourite books 
ever since he could read; and in that world of 
romance he had found a golden gate to the world 
of reality. A boy who had read "Quentin Dur- 
ward " was ready to be interested in King Louis 
of France and Duke Charles of Burgundy. A boy 
who had delighted in ''Nigel" was eager to hear 
all that the historian could tell him about James 
the First and the England of Cecil and Bacon. 
It was certainly a happy autumn. The two 



2o6 Under Love's Rule. 

boys were in high health after theu: Ratnsgate 
holiday, and able to enjoy such rambles and 
excursions as they had never made before from 
Heatherside. Clement Doyle appeared upon the 
scene a month before Dora had expected him, and 
pilgrimages were arranged to all the interesting 
spots in the neighbourhood, pilgrimages in which 
even Mrs. Lerwick did not disdain to share when 
she returned from Marienbad, full of the condescen- 
sion and charm of Royalties who had looked at 
her approvingly, or bought a painted paper-knife 
from her at a charity bazaar. Her husband was 
to arrive at Heatherside after the Doncaster meet- 
ing. They went to Corfe Castle and picnicked 
amidst the ruins one warm Wednesday, when 
hearts were beating high in the far-off throng, 
waiting for the result of the St Leger. For that 
happy, innocent group — mother and aun^ children 
and governess — ^sitting in the shadow of those old 
towers which had reeled on their bases under 
Cromwell's artillery, that fair September afternoon 
was a time of peace and pleasantness ; but to some 
among the throng of loud-voiced humanity on the 



In the Golden Autumn. 207 

Yorkshire flat this golden-hued autumn day was 
the day of doom. 

Among the many who were heavily hit, Anthony 
Lerwick was not the lightest sufferen That 
beautiful bay impostor, Badmash, had proved 
himself no more capable of winning the Leger 
than of winning the Derby^ and his Doncaster 
performance had made a much worse show than 
his break-down at Epsom. Nor was Mr. Lerwick 
any luckier as a backer of other people's horses 
than he was in the more exalted character of owner. 
His losses on that Leger were heavy; but, of 
course, when a man does not know how rich he is, 
such losses count for very little. Yet for once in 
his life Mr. Lerwick was observed to take his 
punishment badly. He was depressed and out of 
sorts after the races, refused to dine with friends 
who were staying at the Reindeer Hotel, and 
hurried off to the train in what was considered a 
poor-spirited manner. 

He was out of spirits when . he came back to 
Heatherside, and took very little interest in the 
party which he himself had invited for the first. 



2o8 Under Love's Rule. 

although his keepers were jubilant at the prospects 
of the cover-shooting. Never had pheasants been 
more plentiful. 

His friends came at the end of September, and 
stayed till the third week in October, and filled 
his house for him, and drank his champagne, and 
criticised his cook, and shot his birds ; but this 
year he seemed to take less pleasure in their 
society than he had taken in the seasons that were 
gone. He looked ill, and he shot badly. 

Clement Doyle saw that there was something 
amiss with his host ; but he was not one of Tony 
Lerwick's intimates. He was not in touch with him. 
He only joined the shooters half a dozen times 
during his visit, not being as keen upon slaughter- 
ing pheasants as the men to whom big game and 
the hazards and adventures of the Indian jungle 
were unknown. He spent most of his days with 
Dorothea and her nephews. They played golf on 
the heath; they played pat-ball on the deserted 
lawn, where once there had been tennis tea-parties 
two or three times a week. The Caledonian game 
had put tennis out of fashion at Heatherside. He 



In the Golden Autumn. 209 

had engagements in the north, visits to friends and 
relatives which he would have to pay ; but he hung 
on, unwilling to leave his sweetheart even for a 
few weeks. 

One day Mr. Lerwick's altered health made 
itself so obvious that even his wife's unobservant 
eyes discovered that something was wrong. He 
had no appetite ; he was nervous and dull He 
allowed the family doctor to come and look at 
him, to satisfy his wife rather than from any faith 
he had in medicine ; but before the doctor saw the 
patient he was invited into the morning room, 
where he found Mrs. Lerwick sitting by the fire 
with Spitz, nursing her first winter cold. 

'^ I am so frightfully susceptible to cold," she 
said, and the doctor was allowed to feel her pulse 
and hear all her troubles before he went to the 
smoking-room, where Mr. Lerwick was generally 
to be found on those rare occasions when he spent 
a morning indoors. 

It was a dull, grey morning, and the wind and 
rain came every now and then in fierce gusts, 
rattling at the windows, and bending the deodaras 



2IO Under Love's Rule, 

in the shrubbery. It was weather that made even 
those perfect gardens unbeautiful ; while the broad 
moorland in the distance was curtained in gloom, 
and the sea was the colour of lead 

**We ought all to get away from this horrid 
climate for the winter/' Mrs. Lerwick said, shiver- 
ingi and wrapping her china-crape shawl closer 
round her shoulders. *^ My husband has no chest. 
He is not fit to face an English winter. Don't 
you think now, Doctor, that the best thing we 
could do would be to pack our trunks and run 
away to the Riviera ? " 

Mrs. Lerwick had been impressed by this 
necessity within the last half-hour, during which 
she had been reading one of the society papers, in 
which everybody worth speaking about was re- 
ported as going, or intending to go, to the South. 

November was a week old, and the world 
seemed to have turned suddenly to winter. 
Clement Doyle had gone back to his own people, 
to return to Heatlierside for the Christmas holi- 
days. The spacious villa, the large airy rooms, 
and wide corridors seemed almost empty without 



^ In the Golden Autumn. 211 

a house-party, and Ellinor Lerwick was feeling 
bored; and in that state of feeling the idea of 
finding another summer beside the Mediterranean 
came like a ray of light. 

^' I'm sure it would be the best thing for us to 
do," she repeated. 

** It won't be the best thing for me, or for the 
people about here," answered the doctor, smiling 
at her child-like insistency. " I don't think there 
is much the matter with your lungs ; but I'll go 
and look at Mr. Lerwick." 

'* Do ; and pray overhaul him thoroughly. He 
is dreadfully narrow ; but he will never acknow- 
ledge that he has a weak chest" 

A footman conducted the doctor to the smoking- 
room, where Anthony Lerwick was sitting by the 
fire, half asleep. 

Yes, he owned to having felt "under the 

weather " lately ; but there was nothing amiss that 
he knew of. He allowed his chest to be sounded. 
It was certainly rather a narrow chest, though he 
was so tall and so well set-up. 
" Mrs. Lerwick has been talking of the Riviera," 



212 Under Love's Rule. * 

said the doctor, *' and I know she would like me to 

insist upon your going there. I can't quite con- 
scientiously do that ; but it would do you no harm 
to escape an English winter. You are hot-house 
bred, both of you." 

"You don't think I'm going into a con- 
sumption ? " 

" Not you, Mr. Lerwick. You have been taking 
rather too much out of yourself somehow, but your 
lungs are sound enough. It's your nerves that are 
out of order. For my own part, I should like to 
send you to St Moritz." 

"What, to shiver amidst everlasting snows? 
No, thank you." 

''But as Mrs. Lerwick seems to have set her 
heart upon the Riviera " 

" Yes, yes. Nell must go where she likes. I'll 
take a villa at Monte Carlo. The air there is the 
finest along the coast." 

Everything was settled within the next few 
days. An agent was communicated with, and the 
whole business was negotiated by telegraph. A 
villa was taken, the most exquisite of villas, a 



In the Golden Autumn. 213 

^U^u* generally occupied by a Duchess, but which 
the Duchess did not happen to want this year. 
Mrs. Lerwick was delighted, and scanned the 
papers daily for announcements of the people who 
were going to Monte Carlo, 

" We shall be rather early," she told Dora, " but 
all the world will be there in January. It will be 
better than a London season. There will be less 
of the small fry." 

Paul and Fluff were to go with their father and 
mother; but Stacie's education was not to be 
interrupted. Mrs. Lerwick announced this decision 
with an air of supreme wisdom. He would finish 
his term at Elstree, and spend his holidays at Mill 
Park, where Dora would be delighted to have 
him. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick left Heatherside two days 
in advance of their sons. The boys were to travel 
with Dora and Miss Perry, the latter of whom was 
to leave them at Waterloo station in order to spend 
a couple of days with her people before starting for 
the Continent. 

Poor little humdrum Miss Peny was vastly 



214 Under Love's Rule. 

elated at the idea of being taken to that enchanted 
city of which she had read so much, even though 
she was to be a genteel drudge there, doing a 
nursemaid's work in attendance upon Fritz ; for it 
had been decided that Pittman's services were no 
longer required, and the austere female had left 
Heatherside with a month's wages and a hand- 
some present, and a reserved force of indignation 
swelling her matronly bosom. 

She prophesied an early grave for Fritz, in her 
parting conversation with the housekeeper. 

'' I give that poor child six months at the most, 
with that empty-headed girl to look after him — or 
to make believe to look after him — for that's about 
all it will be," she said, shaking her head dolorously, 
just before stepping into the station brougham. 

Paul and Fritz liked the idea of a foreign 
country, a place where there was pigeon-shoot- 
ing, and where it was always summer. But they 
grieved a little at parting with Aunt Donu 

" It seems hard lines for you after you've put off 
your marriage on purpose to be with us," Paul said ; 



In the Golden Autumn. 215 

but Dora protested that she would in no case have 
cared to be married before June. 

'' We shall be back in March^ mother says, and 
then you must stay with us in the Square, and buy 
your trousseau," said Paul, and the arrangement 
seemed alike natural and convenient 

" I wish you were coming with us, little Auntie. 
Mother ought to take you," said Fluff. ** She didn't 
want to take Pincher, only I made her. I said I 
wouldn't go without Pincher. She would have 
taken Spitz, and left Pincher. I do call that 
selfishness. As if my dog wasn't ever so much 
more to me than her dog is to her. Why, he 
sleeps in my bed; and she won't have Spitz 
even outside hers ; because of her satin counter- 
pane, I suppose," concluded Fluff, contemptuously, 
drawing upon himself serious reproof for undutiful 
speech about his mother. 



2i6 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

IN DEEP WATERS. 

The journey from Heatherside to London was 
almost too short for the boys, as it allowed no 
halting-places for the purchase of buns and choco- 
late. The Bournemouth express only stopped at 
Brockenhurst and at Southampton, where no in- 
viting edibles were brought to the carriage window. 

'' I call this a beastly train," said Fluff, sprawl- 
ing in all the luxury of the Pullman, kicking his 
restless legs upon the broad velvet cushions, and 
looking listlessly at the passing landscape, after 
having exhausted a large supply of pictorial 
papers. 

The carriage was waiting for them at Waterloo, 
where they left poor little Perry tripping off with 
a porter to find an omnibus that would carry her 



In Deep Waters. 217 

and her small Gladstone to the wilds of South 
London. A footman was in attendance on Miss 
Hampden and her nephews, and he was to collect 
the luggage and take it to Palatine Square in a 
station omnibus. There was nothing to detain 
Dora and her charges. They squeezed themselves 
into the miniature brougham, and the high-stepping 
horse trotted off with them, with his head in the 
air, scorning the shabbiness of the York-road. 

There was no servant on the box, and Dora and 
the boys had to let themselves out of the carriage 
and ring the belL Fluff rang with all his might, 
holding Pincher by his chain, while Paul performed 
a spirited solo on the knocker. 

The door was opened by a housemaid — a fact 
almost without precedent in the history of Pala- 
tine Square. In the long blank spaces of the 
family's absence this vision of a woman in an 
apron opening one half of the massive double door 
might be common enough ; since at those periods 
the house was given over to desolation and three 
servants on board wages. But that a housemaid 
should appear in the entrance hall to-day — ^when 



2i8 Under Love's Rule. 

mother, with all her paraphernalia of luxury and 
splendour, was on the premises — was a thing to 
make Paul wonder, and to draw words of mockery 
from the livelier Fluff. 

" Where's your powder, Sarah, and why haven't 
you got on your silk stockings?" asked Fluff, 
entering the house in an involuntary run, dragged 
by the muscular and, excited Pincher, who rushed 
in as if the hall were a rat-warren. 

Sarah took no notice of Fluff's lively address, 
although she was fond of him, and considered him 
a wit. She turned with a pale, distressed face to 
Miss Hampden. 

**0h, ma'am, we're in such trouble!" she 
murmured faintly. 

Dora was quick to take fright That look 
seemed to turn her blood to ice. 

" What's the matter ? Is your mistress ill ? " 

'* Oh, the poor missus ! It's worst for her. It 
was only ten minutes ago. And there's a p'lice- 
man up there — a-frightening of poor missus. As 
if it wasn't bad enough without a p'liceman I " 

Paul and his aunt heard this awful speech, and 



i' 



In Deep Waters. 219 

looked at each other aghast Fluff had followed 
Fincher into the inner hall, and was out of hearing* 
The noise of the terrier's chain, and the patter of 
his claws on the marble, drowned Sarah's muffled 
accents. 

Suddenly there came a chilling sound from the 
landing above — the spacious landing where Mrs. 
Lerwick used to stand for hours, smiling down at 
the procession of beautiful women and beautiful 
gowns, at the men, who all looked exactly alike 
except those who wore stars and ribands, whom 
Fluff and Paul admired immensely, or the ecclesi- 
astics, with handsome black silk legs, and a grave 
dignity which impressed Fluff almost as much as 
the jewelled orders. 

It was the sound of a dog's piteous whining, the 
sad imploring whimper which Paul had heard so 
often when the pampered favourite was shut out of 
Mrs. Lerwick's rooms. While they looked up and 
listened, the whimper changed to a long-drawn 
dolorous howl, a sound so unmatched in melan- 
choly that it has been taken by the popular mind 
to be a thing of evil omen, prophetic of death. 



220 Under Love's Rule. 

Dora rushed upstairs, followed closely by Paul ; 
but on the half-flight she stopped, and seized the 
boy's hand convulsively. 

"Go back, dear," she entreated. *'Go back to 
Fluff, and take him into the dining-room. If there 
is any accident — ^anything dreadful — ^he had better 
not know." 

" Auntie, I can't ! I must know." 

The words were spoken on both sides with 
breathless rapidity; and then aunt and nephew 
hurried on. There was a resolute intensity in 
Paul's countenance which made him look like a 
man, with all a man's sternness of purpose. He 
grasped Dora's wrist with his bare hand, and she 
felt the coldness of his touch even through her 
glove. 

Yes, there was a policeman on the landing. He 
stood at ease looking out of the window into the 
emptiness of the wintry square, and seemed to 
have no business there except to contemplate 
Nature as illustrated by the smoke-blackened 
branches of London elms and sycamores. He 
himself looked harmless enough ; but the presence 



In Deep Waters. 221 

of that blue coat and severe helmet was frighten- 
ing. Something had happened, Paul knew; but 
what? He thought of his mother — a carriage 
accident — a mad dog — a gown that had caught 
fire — of his father — ^thought helplessly, seeming in 
a few moments to explore vast wildernesses of 
horror, 

Mr. Lerwick's room was at the end of a short 
passage on the half-flight It was at that door 
Spitz lay whining. It was there he lifted up his 
head and repeated that prolonged lamentation 
which had struck terror to Paul's heart in the hall 
below. 

Paul ran along the passage, followed by Dora. 
He tried to open the door, while the little silken- 
haired dog sniffed his clothes, and leapt up at him, 
licking his left hand impetuously as it hung loose 
by his side. The door was locked. 

** Father, father, let me in, please!" implored 
Paul 

There was no answer, and he knocked, and 
again entreated : '' Father ! Somebody I What 
has happened? Let me in— it's Paul!'* and he 



222 Under Love's Rule. 

knocked louder and louder, with a hand that 
shook like a leaf. 

It seemed a long time to Dora Hampden, stand- 
ing close behind him with one arm wound about 
him, as if by the passion of her love she could 
shield him from that unknown horror behind the 
locked doon That a tragedy had happened, that 
horror of some kind was waiting for them, she 
knew too well. She could hear the subdued 
murmurs of several voices inside the spacious 
room, and the sound of a woman's hysterical sobs ; 
and below, on the marble pavement of the hall, 
she could hear the scampering of Pincher's feet, 
and Fluffs silver-clear voice talking to him. 

Presently the door opened, and a stranger came 
out, shutting it so quickly behind him that neither 
of those who waited without could look into the 
room. They heard the key turned in the lock. 
The stranger was a grave-looking, middle-aged 
man, with a greyish beard and spectacles, and 
carried his hat in his hand. A doctor, evidently. 
Neither Dora nor Paul had any need to wonder 
about him. 



In Deep Waters. 223 

^ Is this Master Lerwick ? " he asked, laying his 
hand on Paul's shoulder. 

"Yes, and I am his mother's sister," answered 
Dora. *' For pity's sake tell us what has happened. 
Can't I see my sister? I thought I heard her 
crying in that room." 

"You shall see her presently. She is being looked 
after. Could I speak to you alone — anywhere ? " 

"No, no, no," Paul cried, passionately. "You 
are to tell me as well as Aunt It's my mother 
that's crying — it's my father that's dead." 

The doctor started and looked at him, dumb- 
founded. 

" I know he is dead," said Paul, looking at the 
doctor. 

" He is very — seriously — ill" 

" He is dead ! " cried Paul " Do you think I'm 
a baby ? Let me go to him ! Let me go to my 
mother ! Why did they lock the door ? I won't 
have it I will go— I will see him." 

He pushed past the stranger with a determina- 
tion which startled the man of wide experience, 
and ran at the door and battered it with his fists. 



224 Under Love's Rule. 

" Mother, mother, let me in« It is I — Paul. I 
will see him ! " 

Again the key turned in the lock, and his mother 
came out, with disordered hair and streaming eyes. 
She came out of a crowd, as it seemed to Paul, in 
his momentary glimpse of the space behind her, 
a crowd of scared faces and murmuring tongues ; 
then the door closed again, and again the key was 
turned in the lock. There were two doors, with 
a three-foot passage between them, and he heard 
the inner door close, and then the murmuring 
voices were still, and he and his mother were 
standing face to face. 

'* She clung to him and kissed him, distractedly, 
and then, looking over his head at Dora, she 
asked : " Docs Fluff know ? " 

Her darling's voice answered her question, 
ringing out from the hall below in gay laughter. 

" O God, it's too dreadful ! " she muttered, with 
white lips. *' He was talking to me less than an 
hour ago ; and now " 

She stopped, choked by her sobs. Paul put his 
arm round her ; and the doctor touched her gently 



In Deep Waters. 225 

on the shoulder, begging her to compose herself, 
to remember her children, and to bear in mind 
that their father's sudden death must not be made 
to seem more awful than death — sudden death, 
especially — must always be. . 

He spoke in a very low voice, slowly and im- 
pressively j and there was a meaning in his voice 
which Dora seemed shudderingly to understand. 
There was something exceptionally terrible in this 
sudden death, she thought; something that the 
dead man's children must never know. 

" Go upstairs with your son, dear lady," said the 
doctor. '* I'll bring you the little boy." 

" Yes, bring him to me — my Fritz, my idol — ^all 
I have to live for in the world now," sobbed Mrs. 
Lerwick, as she went totteringly upstairs, clinging 
mechanically to Paul, her wild eyes staring straight 
before her, all the delicate prettiness vanished out 
of her tear-stained face and tumbled gown, with 
its fragile lace trimmings hanging in rags about 
her neck and arms. She looked as if she had 
been crawling on the ground — ^as if she had been 
beating her head against the wall Despair had 



226 Under Love's Rule, 

altered her from head to foot It had changed 
her into another woman; and yet the innate 
weakness and shallowness of her character were 
as marked in her day of sorrow as ever they had 
been in her days of joy. 

Dora went upstairs with her sister, and made 
her sit on the sofa by the fire, while Paul sat 
quietly beside her, holding her hand, and knowing 
that she cared very little about him, that she was 
hardly conscious of his presence. Yet when Fluff 
appeared the floodgates of her tears would be 
loosened again ; and she would melt in a passion 
of love for the child she had chosen ; the one 
chosen out of three ; the other two being almost 
as strangers. 

Spitz had followed them up to his accustomed 
apartment, and had coiled himself in a circle 
close against the marble fender, rejoicing in the 
warmth, and perhaps foigetting the tragic mystery 
that had come with a sudden fear and trembling 
into the dimness of his canine intellect 

*' Mother," Paul asked, quietly, "when did father 
die?" 



In Deep Waters. 227 

^ Not half an hour ago. Ob, Paul, I feel as if it 
were long ages ago — I hardly know what the world 
was like before/' sobbed his mother. ** It seems 
to have been always so— always this misery." 

'^But God will have pity upon us all/' mur- 
mured Dora, kneeling by the sofa, with her head 
leaning against Paul's shoulder, praying for him 
and for his mother; praying dumbly in every 
interval of silence. '^We must love each other all 
the more dearly," she went oa "We must try 
to be all the world to each other. You and I, 
Nell, and the three dear boys." 

**You are going away next year," said Paul, 
bitterly. " You'll soon be out of it" 

"I won't leave you till you're happy again, 
Paul/' she answered softly. 

" Then you'll never go ; for that will never be," 
answered Paul ; and then he spoke to his mother 
again, with a grave resolution that seemed to 
exercise a kind of authority over her weakness — 
a child of twelve being so much her intellectual 
superior. "What was the matter? Why did 
father die?" 



228 Under Love's Rule. 

^He fell down dead,'' she faltered, and then 
muttered inarticulate ^Uables^ with white lips, 
and then looked helplessly at her sister. * I think 
the doctor said it was heart disease.*' 

^Foor father! Dead! And he was dlw^ys 
kind to us — he was never angxy — ^he was alwa}^ 
generousP 

/'Too generous!" sobbed his mother. ''He 
threw his money out of the windows. He gave it 
to everybody who asked him. Oh! no, no, no, 
Dora!" as if answering a mute reproach in her 
sister's face. ** I am not blaming the dead. He 
was very good to me — ^he spoilt me — ^as if I had 
been a foolish child. But to think of all the 
money we have wasted — and now we are 
paupers ! " 

"Mother!" 

" Yes, Paul, we are beggars. There will be no 
Elstree for you, no Harrow, no Oxford for Stacie. 
You will have to go to Australia and make roads 
for your daily bread. There will be nothing for 
Fluff— nothing. We may have to starve, perhaps." 

The doctor opened the door gently, and FlufT, 



In Deep Waters. 229 

still dragging, or dragged by, Pincher, ran into 
the room, and flung himself sobbing into his 
mother's lap. She clasped him to her breast, 
and cried over him and kissed his soft flaxen hair 
with her parched lips, and held him strained to 
her heart 

"Oh, mother! mother! mother!" he sobbed 
helplessly. 

The strange doctor had told him vaguely that 
there was trouble in the house. His father was 
ill. He would have to comfort his mother. Her 
sons must love her with all the strength of their 
hearts in her day of sorrow. This was what the 
unknown doctor had told Fluff ; and the child felt 
that all the house was full of fear and trouble, and 
that misery too great for words had fallen upon 
him and his brothers. 



^30 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER XV. 

WITHOUT RUDDER OR COMPASS. 

Anthony Lerwick had died by his own hand. 
That was the secret which Paul had guessed, in 
spite of the doctor's veiled words, of the dumbness 
of the servants, who, albeit they were never tired 
of talking over the tragedy below-stairs, were 
careful to give no hint of the dreadful truth to 
the dead man's children. 

Neither Eustace nor Fritz knew the true story 
of their father's death. They believed what they 
were told, and they were told only that he had 
died with terrible suddenness — had dropped down 
dead in his own room at the back of the house, 
half an hour after leaving his wife's morning room. 
Eustace summoned from Elstree on the day after 
his father's death, was quite as easily satisfied as 



Without Rudder or Compass. 231 

Fluff had been, quite as willing to accept his aunt's 
version of the sorrowful story. 

"And now that God has taken away your 
father, you must love your poor mother more than 
ever, Stacie," said Dora, in her low, pleading voice, 
as she sat over the fire in the schoolroom, vdth 
Stacie and Paul, while Fluff and the dogs were 
below in his mother's room. Mrs. Lerwick would 
not have her youngest child out of her sight for 
an hour ; but it seemed as if she could hardly 
endure the presence of the other two. 

"There are so many of you," she complsuned 
piteously. **You bewilder me. You make my 
head ache, worse than it has been aching ever 
sinc e " 

Ever since the sharp report of a pistol had 
startled her from her idle dream of life — ^that 
ringing sound which had brought the servants 
hurrying into the hall — ^the scared faces gathering 
on the stairs — the silly French maid putting 
her head out of the first available window to 
shriek into the square, with a shrill scream that 
attracted a passing policeman, and brought him 



232 Under Love's Rule. 

into the house, to establish the fact that the 
master had shot himself, and to g^ve speedy 
information to the Coroner. 

When a gentleman dies by his own hand in 
such a place as Palatine Square the melancholy 
consequences of his death are lightened as much as 
they can be by the respectful behaviour of officials. 
Mr. Lerwick's tragic fate was known to very few 
people before the appearance of a paragraph under 
the heading of ** Inquests,'' which told how Mr. 
Anthony Lerwick, of Palatine Square, had com- 
mitted suicide in a fit of temporary insanity. 

His sons were not allowed to see that paragraph. 
All newspapers were kept from them by Dora's 
watchful care; and in the first week or two of 
mourning Stacie was indifferent even to the result 
of half a dozen football matches, and content to 
exist without any news of the outer world. 

It was only Paul whose shrewd eyes had pierced 
the dark veil that hung over the day of his home- 
coming ; and he breathed no word of his suspicion 
to either of his brothers. There was deepest shame 
to him in the thought that his father had so died ; 



Without Rudder or Compass. 233 

for Miss Warren had taught him to think that 

what was courage in a Roman was cowardice in a 

Christian. 

** A Christian's ruling thought is duty," she had 
said to him once when they had been reading of 

Seneca's death, '' and no Christian would wish to 

leave this life while there was anybody in the 

world who wanted him, or any good deed that he 

could do." 

"There were Christians who lived in caves," Paul 
had replied, ** who never did any good to anybody, 
and who didn't even wash themselves," 

"They were blind followers of blind leaders, 
Paul They had strayed very far from the light of 
the Gospel." 

" Poor old beggars I They had a bad time of 
it," commented the boy, who had just been reading 
an English version of •* Homo Sum." 

He had read Hamlei with his governess, who 
was an ardent Shakespearean, and they had 
discussed the catastrophe, and the Prince's 
passionate appeal to Horatio, urging him to 
endure the burden of life a little longer in order 



234 Under Love's Rule. 

that he might tell the world the truth about his 
murdered master. 

"Horatio had a duty to do, you see, Paul," 
moralized Miss Warren, *' and it would have been 
base in him to throw away his life because he had 
done with happiness." 

The boy's thinking powers had been developed 
in many an argument with his serious middle-aged 
governess, who had taught him to care for books 
which few boys of his age can relish. The absorb- 
ing interests of cricket, the ardent pleasures of 
Rugger or Socker had been kept out of his life. The 
doctors had pronounced him too delicate to begin 
his athletic education yet awhile; except in the 
g[entlest form of Swedish gymnastics, or such mild 
cricket or pat-ball as could be played in a garden 
of girls. So educated, Paul had developed into a 
thinking machine ; and it was quite as difficult for 
him to desist from thinking as it was for Stacie 
and Fluff to think. 

He brooded over his fathers fate with deepest 
melancholy. It was his first experience of sorrow 
— the first dark cloud of trouble that had closed 



Without Rudder or Compass. 235 

around his life; and it seemed to him that no 
gleam of sun could ever penetrate that utter black- 
ness of grief and shame. Yes, there was shame 
mingled with his sorrow for the good-tempered , 
easy-going, open-handed father, of whose life, and 
thoughts, and feelings he had known so little. He 
was ashamed that his father should have been so 
wanting in Christian faith and heroic endurance 
that he should not have been able to look ruin 
calmly in the face. For, after all, what could it 
matter to a man whether he lived at Palatine 
Square or in a labourer's cottage ? He thought of 
Cincinnatus ; of all those shining lights he had 
read about with Miss Warren. He thought of the 
Iron Duke and his narrow bed and hard pillow, of 
his Spartan habits, and luxury of benevolence. 
His father had fled from the evil to come — only 
that evil of narrow means which braver spirits meet 
so bravely — ^and had left wife and sons to face the 
trouble he thought intolerable. It was a terrible 
thing to think of that kindly man, whose pleasant 
smile had been so marked a characteristic of the 
young, bright face that Paul could hardly recall 



236 Under Love's Rule. 

his features without the aid of a photograph. The 
smile, the cheerful voice, the well-set-up figure had 
been the man. 

" Poor father ! *' mused Paul. " If he had stopped 
to think about us all, and what he would make us 
suffer by such a death, he would never have done 
it He was much too kind." 

The shame was even worse than the grief in 
Paul's mind. He thought that his mother and her 
sons would be always spoken of with a kind of 
scornful pity, as the widow and children of a 
suicide. And Paul had a stubborn pride which 
revolted against the idea of pity. He brooded 

over his trouble all day ; he dreamt of hideous 
things at night ; but he never hinted at his sus* 
pidons, even to his Aunt Dora. Still less would 
he have stooped to ask a question of a servant 
He hoped that no one would ever speak to him of 
the tragedy ; but sometimes in those dismal winter 
days^ whidi dosed in daricness long before tea- 
time^ he fdt that it would have been a comfort to 
spend an hour with Miss Warren, taUdng with her, 
not of his own grief, but of tronUe in general ; of 



Withovit Rudder or Compass. 237 

the great burden of trouble which the world was 
bearing, while people in Palatine Square were 
giving big evening parties, and spending three 
or four hundred pounds upon the floral decora- 
tions for a single night — flowers that were faded 
before morning, mere rubbish to be stripped off 
the walls and swept away. 

Remembering how the large lofty rooms — ^the 
stately staircase — ^had been transformed into a 
garden of roses for his mother's last ball, he 
could not but think of the money that had been 
spent in that house, and how few traces of it 
were left All that had been spent and achieved 
there seemed but a vision of splendour, seen for 
a moment amidst the changing images of a dream. 

Poor, helpless, feather-headed mother, who was 
moping through the wintry days, sitting over the 
fire, amidst the expensive litter of her morning 
room, in the gaudy deshabille of a scarlet and 
gold Japanese tea-gown, while huge cartons from 
the mourning warehouse were stacked in her 
bedroom, waiting till she had courage to put on 
widow's weeds. 



238 Under Love's Rule. 

Cards and letters of condolence had flowed in 
upon her, mingled with circulars from stone* 
masons, eager to be at work upon marble or 
granite, in honour of the dead man« The hall 
and staircase were still pervaded by faint odours 
of lilies and tube-roses, which had been heaped 
upon the coffin; and going up and down stairs, 
Paul sometimes trod upon a tube-rose or a gar- 
denia that had snapped off at the stem, or a 
withered spray of maiden-hair fern. 

He remembered how that spacious staircase, 
and the closed door of his father's sitting-room, 
had oppressed his spirits last June in the silence 
of the summer twilight and the great empty 
house, and how a nameless horror had scared 
him as he passed those tenantless rooms. Another 
boy might have told himself that those melancholy 
sensations were a supernatural portent ; but Miss 
Warren had taught Paul to clear his mind of 
superstition, and he knew that his feelings had 
meant no more than the natural sadness of 
solitude and summer evening. 

But b^ncefojrward that passage leading to his 



Without Rudder or Compass. 239 

father's room — the recessed window yonder, where 
the policeman had stood like a wooden figure, 
taking no part in the tragedy — ^would be haunted 
with ghastly memories. He longed to escape 
from the gloomy splendour, from a house which 
he had never loved. He felt that he should 
hardly care if they had to move into two or 
three garrets in a London alley: rooms as wretched 
as that garret in a court out of Holborn where 
Chatterton, the poet, once lay dead He could 
hardly understand his mother's wailing about de« 
parture from Palatine Square, as a calamity not 
to be thought of without hysteria* 

"We shall have to gtvo up everything, Paul — 
everything!" she cried, in one of those brief 
interviews which she accorded to her elder sons, 
while Fluff, who spent most of his time in her 
room, sprawled on the hearthrug, teasing Spitz. 
"The horrid creditors will take everything — all 
my silver things — all the ornaments in this room 
— ^because^ though they are my very own, and I 
bought them, they are to count as furniture, 



240 Under Love's Rule. 

Miss Hampden had been the only person to 
see the lawyers who had charge of her sister's 
interests, and who came between Anthony 
Lerwick's widow and the troops of commercial 
wolves who bore down upon the house in Palatine 
Square — tradesmen of every kind, from the coach« 
builders who built Mr. Lerwick's drag and Mrs. 
Lerwick's victoria, to the cobbler who mended the 
stablemen's shoes. Most of these traders had 
received hundreds, and many of them thousands, 
from the house in Palatine Square; but all had 
money owing to them, much or little, when the 
famous firm of Lerwick and Lerwick stopped 
suddenly one morning, like a watch whose main- 
spring was broken. 

Sudden as the stoppage was, it had not come 
without warning. Anthony Lerwick had been 
told quite enough by accountants, managers, head 
clerks, and other sage advisers, to know that all 
was not as it once had been with the house of 
Lerwick. The great flood-tide of prosperity had 
gone down. The river of gold was running low 
and sluggishly. They were passing through a 



Without Rudder or Compass. 241 

crisis, his manager told him. The net results of 
the year's trading were far from satisfactory^ wrote 

the accountants, in a letter to Anthony himself, 
labelled "Private." 

Mr. Lerwick thought the accountants had taken 
an unwarrantable liberty in so writing to him; 
and he had thought hardly any more about it 
He had heard of that *' crisis " before, and of net 
results that were unsatisfactory. The phrases 
were to his mind mere forms of speech, which 

only meant that no business could make the 
same profits every year. 

Then the manager, who was also a junior 
partner, had appeared early one morning in 
Palatine Square, with a proposal that Lerwick 
and Lerwick should be turned into a limited 
company, capital two millions. It was a Goodwood 
morning, and the brougham was at the door to 
take Mr. and Mrs. Lerwick to the station. The 
manager showed his principal a type-written draft 
of the prospectus he proposed issuing. The firm 
was solvent The firm had been making large 
profits within the last ten years. A very good 



2^2 Under Lovers Rule* 

account — a judicious account — could be given of 
the last three years' trading, though, by com- 
parison with an earlier period, it was not assuring. 
The manager saw powerful rivals in the future, 
firms that had grown to unexpected magnitude 
out of small beginnings, and he feared Lerwick 
and Lerwick would never be as they had been. 
Now was the time to invite the public to come 
in. Later any such invitation might be ineffectual. 
Mr. Lerwick pretended to listen, with his eye on 
the railway time-table, glanced over the prospectus 
with a casual air, and said he was quite willing 
to make the business iiito a company, and to wash 
his hands of all trouble — ** as if he had ever taken 
ally ! " thought the manager — provided he got as 
good ^n income as he was getting now* 
The manager hummed and hesitated 
^ There would be a lump sum to come to you 
Otit of the capital, but you'd have to take at least 
half your money in shares. Of course you have 
not been living up to your income since you came 
Ofage.'* 
* Of course I have, my dear fellow* What's a 



Without Rudder or Compass. 243 

man's income meant for except to keep him and 
his belongings? Besides, I've been deuced un- 
lucky with my stable." 

''My dear Lerwick," the manager began, 
gravely, trying to buttonhole him, "if I were 
you, I'd retrench — I would indeed. I'd cut things 
as close as possible. The iron trade is not what 
it was." 

''I heard that when I was at Eton," said 
Lerwick; "and I heard it again at Brasenose, 
when the governor objected to my skewbald 
team. I don't want to hear it from you, chappie. 
Nothing is what it once was. The English race- 
horse ain't what he was when Voltigeur was 
foaled. He's a delusion and a snare. Ta-ta. I 
mustn't lose the Goodwood express. Do as you 
please about the prospectus " 

In the ears of most menj such an intervievs^ 
would have sounded like the funeral knell of 
fortune ; but it hardly discomposed Anthony 
Lerwick. He had heard of other great firmd 
being made into limited "^^es, and 



244 Under Love's Rule. 

he looked upon the thing as a fashion of the day. 
He did not care what form his income assumed, 
so long as he had plenty of money to spend, and 
was able to fling a cheque on account to any 
tradesman who pestered him for money, without 
troubling himself to look at his bill. 

^I mean to go into your account some day. 
Joskins," he said to his coachbuilder, "when I 
have an hour's leisure." 

The idler a man's life is, the less leisure there 
is in it, as a rule. Mr. Lerwick had been in a 
hurry ever since he left Eton ; hurrying from 
the river to the race-course; from the tennis- 
court to the golf-ground; from Hurlingham to 
Ascot He had been hurried along a stream of 
pleasures, and had never had time to think. And 
then one morning — that cruel morning when he 
and his wife had been talking of the delicious 
change from London fogs and the creeping cold 
of an English November to the bright blue sky 
and the bright blue sea, and the orange garden 
and roses round their villa at Monte Carlo, — ^in the 
midst of their Fool's Paradise, the blow had fallen 



Without Rudder or Compass. 245 

upon him, — a long grave letter from the junior 
partner telling him how every effort to transform 
Lerwick and Lerwick into a company had failed^ 
and how the business was hopelessly insolvent. 

He was beggared — ^he and his wife and hi^ 
children. He was alone when the letter was 
handed him, and he read it quietly through, every 
word sinking into his heart with a physical pain« 
as if it were a bit of lead. Bankruptcies and 
failures in South America, in the West Indies, 
at the Cape, had come crashing down, blow after 
blow, upon Lerwick and Lerwick, until the central 
house lay crushed and annihilated, a heap of 
ashes, out of which not a grain of gold would ever 
be squeezed again. 

'' I tried to tell you the plain truth that day I 
took you the prospectus," wrote the manager; 
" but I was hopeful then that we should weather 
the storm and get a new start. I did not know 
that the end was so near." 

The end! Anthony Lerwick took his pass- 
* — ^k out '^^ -* drawer in his desk, and looked at 

made up a few days before.. 



346 Under Love's Rule. 

There had been seven hundred and sixty-three 
pounds to his credit when the account was 
balanced; and he knew that, over and above 
innumerable house accounts, milliners, tailors, 
jewellers, decorators, and florists, he owed at least 
three thousand for his losses at the Doncaster 
mating —? money which he must pay, or face 
f listant disgrace. 

He looked round him wildly, like an animal at 
bay» and clapped bis hand to his forehead with 
a desperate movement. 

To face the world a pauper — he who had always 
been rich I Impossible I He pulled open another 
drawer hurriedly, with a hand that shook like a 
leaf. It was the drawer in which he kept the 
revolver he used for practice in a shooting-gallery. 
Three minutes after, the report of a pistol rang 
through the house, and brought Ellinor Lerwick 
rushing from her room on the floor above, 
awakened in that one awful moment from her 
dream of life. 



( 247 ) 



CHAPTER XVI. 

KISSING THE ROD. 

There were now only one managing mind and 
one busy pen in Palatine Square, and the pen 
and the mind belonged to Dora Hampden. The 
little Auntie had the whole burden of those broken 
lives laid upon her shoulders. Her father wrote 
briefly, **! am very sorry for poor Nell and her 
boys. You had better bring them all to Mill 
Park as soon as they are ready to move. Give 
my love to Nell, and tell her not to fret." 

And having written thus, Mr. Hampden thought 
he had done his duty as a father, and that he was 
free to hunt three days a week, and drink his half- 
bottle of port every evening after dinner, in his 
accustomed self-indulgent placidity. He was not 
the man to make himself more unhappy than the 
occasion demanded. 



248 Under Love's Rule. 

The Kttle Auntie wrote her sister's letters, held 
daily communication with the lawyers, and paid oflf 
and dismissed all the servants who could possibly 
be dispensed with ; and thus in a single day that 
stately household dwindled to an elderly couple 
who were to be caretakers till the '' mansion '* 
passed into other hands, and the good-natured 
Sarah, who protested she wouldn't mind how she 
slaved for her *' poor missus and them dear boys." 

It was the little Auntie who husbanded the 
small stock of ready money which the lawyers 
gave her to pay the servants and carry on the 
diminished housekeeping ; for those fashionable 
tradesmen who had sent the very best and choicest 
of their goods to the house in Palatine Square, 
fawning on the housekeeper, flattering the butler, 
and cajoling the cook, were now indisposed to give 
any further credit for so much as a quartern loaf. 

In spite of the princely income that he had 
dispensed ever since he came of age, Anthony 
Lerwick had wound up his life deeply in debt. 

He had paid vast sums, and he owed vast sums. 

Those handsome cheques which he had flung right 



Kissing the Rod. 249 

and left, with casual munificence, had only served 
to keep his purveyors in good humour. And 
now the bills poured in, and the tradespeople 
were clamorous ; for it was whispered everywhere 
that Mr. Lerwick had died insolvent; and those 
who had profited by his extravagance were loud 
in denouncing his folly. 

To take her sister and the boys away from all 
this degradation and misery was Dora's earnest 
endeavour. They were not to go back to 
Heatherside. The Dorsetshire villa, the building 
of which had cost a small fortune, was to be sold, 
with all its expensive contents, save those things 
which could be claimed as the widow's personal 
belongings. They were never more to play tennis 
on the lovely lawn above the sea; never again 
to look from the familiar windows at the picturesque 
chines and bays of the Dorsetshire coast — Swanage 
and Lulworth, and away to the Bill of Portland. 
Country house and town house were to vanish 
from them in the same dark cloud. A lion had 
come out of the wood to devour them, and the 
lion's name was Debt 



250 Under Love's Rule. 

Paul, who did all the thinking toe die tihrec^ 
could not help remembering all he had heaid 
about the prices paid for his mother^s firodcs^ and 
the money his father had lost at eveiy big race- 
meeting; People had talked before lum as if lie 
had neither ears to hear nor a mind to remember ; 
and the knowledge he had gained in this way 
smote him hard at this time of trouble. He could 
not but remember all that idle talk of dress and 
dressmakersi as he sat moodily by the fire in his 
mother's bedroom, while his aunt turned over the 
piles of finety — now such useless finery — and 
sorted the things that were to be sold, or given 
away to poor relations, and the things that were 
to be kept. Oh, those pearl fringes, those ostrich- 
feather trimmings, jewelled embroideries, spider- 
web laces, satins, gauzes, muslins! His heart 
sickened at the sight of them. 

" Why do women dress like that ? " he asked, 
pointing contemptuously to the mountain of 
perishable splendour. '' Why can't a woman wear 
a black velvet gown, with a bit of point lace on her 
neck every night, as a man wears his dress suit ? '' 



Kissing the Rod. 251 

"An evening party would look very dismal, 
Paul, if all the women were in black velvet," Dora 
answered, gently, looking up from the weary toil 
of folding and arranging, and stooping over trunks 
and imperials. 

All the packing had fallen to her share. Her 
sister was fit for nothing, and attempted nothing. 

'* You might as well say men look dismal. But 
women might wear coloured velvets and silks and 
handsome things, without all that trumpery — 
feathers and beads and bits of glass sewn on to 
lace — ^rags and tatters. An Indian squaw may 
care for such things, because she knows no better ; 
but for a sensible woman to squander hundreds 
and thousands " 

** Paul, it's very unkind of you to talk like that 
now, when your poor mother is so unhappy." 

"Oh, I don't mean any unkindness about 
mother. She's no worse than all the other 
women. They wear what the dressmakers tell 
them to wear. I've heard mother's Frenchwoman 
preaching to her. She was to wear this, or that 
t— no, not beads, this year, nothing but feathers. 



252 Under Love's Rule, 

Not lace, but only jewelled gauze. It used to 
make me sick. Mother seemed to have no will 
or opinion of her own." 

^* I suppose it is good for trade/' sighed Dora. 

*' I dare say it's good for half a dozen trades- 
people; but Sarah says the women who sew on 
the beads and make the feather trimmings are 
almost starving in their garrets. I hope you 
won't have any beads and feathers in your 
trousseau, little Auntie." 

" Not many, Paul ; but I am not going to think 
of my trousseau yet awhile." 

She gave a little sigh as she said this, and a 
tear or two dropped into the box over which she 
was bending. The aspect of her life was changed 
by her brother-in-law's death. Her sister's help- 
lessness frightened her ; for it made her think that 
the fortunes of the three boys would have to 
depend mostly Upon hen She knew how much 
and how little their grandfather would do for 
them. He would let them eat at his table, and 
sleep under his roof ; but he would not think and 
strive and plan for their future^ He would 



Kissing the Rod. 253 

consider that he did enough for them if he were 
kind to them in the present It was not in his 
nature to take much trouble. 

Some one would have to take trouble ; some one 
would have to think and strive ; so that these three 
boys might be educated and trained to be busy 
bread-winning men ; so that they might suffice for 
themselves, and be a help and comfort to their 
helpless mother. Dora, even in her rural ex- 
perience, had heard enough about the struggle for 
life to know that it would be no easy task to fit 
her nephews for gentleman-like employments, and 
to obtain such employment for them when they 
should be old enough to work. Friends would 
have to be entreated ; interest would have to be 
invoked ; every name in her father's address-book 
would have to be studied, in the search for friends 
who might help. 

Sisyphus had to roll one stone up a hill ; but 
here was little Dora Hampden who had to roll 
three stones up the cruel steep that leads to the 
Temple of Fortune. That was to be her sole 
business in life — ^that, and not her own happiness. 



254 Under Love's Rule. 

They depended upon her, poor little lads ; and 
she loved them, and would count no sacrifice too 
great to be made for their welfare. 

Her sweetheart had been in Palatine Square for 
an hour or two on the day of the funeral, and had 
comforted her, and offered to do anything in the 
world that could be helpful to the mourners. And 
since that day he had been in the north, visiting 
his people, and he was to return to town to-day, 
and was coming to see her in the late afternoon. 
This afternoon's interview was to be of some im- 
portance in their lives ; and it was the thought of 
what she had to say to her lover that brought 
those tears to Dora Hampden's eyes. 

When four o'clock struck they were together in 
one of the desolate drawing-rooms, where the 
foggy evening outside was hardly brightened by 
the pinched little fire in the brass grate, and the 
one lamp which Sarah had considered sufiicient 
for the occasion. Everything in the shape of 
ornament had been ^i^moved ; and the chairs and 
sofas wore the hoUabd coveiitigs that had been 



Kissing the Rod. 255 

put on them when the family were on the eve of 
departure. The shabbiest parlour in Brixton or 
Camberwell would have been less depressing of 
aspect than those spacious and lofty rooms which 
were soon to figure in a house-agent's catalogue. 

** My dearest, how glad you will be to get away 
from this ghastly house/' said Clement Doyle. 
"My heart aches to think of the fortnight you 
have spent here — while I have been going about 
among pleasant places and people." 

" Yes, I shall be very glad to leave. The house 
seems haunted to all of us. The poor boys are 
miserable — and EUinor — ^well, her state is quite 
hopeless here — ^but I think she will be better when 
I get her home. I finished the packing an hour 
ago ; and we shall be quite ready to start by the 
express to-morrow morning." 

*' And I shall be ready to take care of you all-— 
and of your luggage — and your dogs. The dogs 
are to go with you, of course ? " 

'^Yes, indeed* We could hardly live without 
the dogs. Pincher has been the only ray of sun- 
shine in these dreary days. He made the boys 



256 Under Love's Rule, 

take him to the Green Park every morning, and 
but for him, I don't believe they would have left 
the house.** 

•*Well, we must try and make them happy in 
Devonshire. I shall establish myself at Bideford 
for the winter — ^and perhaps in the spring I might 
set up a bit of a yacht at Cloveliy, and we could 
have excursions " 

"Oh, Clement, the boys will have to be at 
school. I have been finding out all about schools ; 
and I think Helstone will be best. Nell and I 
can have a nice house there, and a garden, for less 
money than almost anywhere. And she will be 
far away from all the fine people she knew in 
London. I hope there will be something left— ^ 
some little income — when this house and all the 
expensive furniture, and Heatherside, and her 
jewels, have been sold, and all the creditors paid." 

''God knows! He seems to have left a mass 
of indebtedness. To spend so much in so few 
years, and yet to owe so much ! It is a financial 
problem.** 

" Father must help her." 



Kissing the Rod. 257 

*' He will help her, no doubt And we can help 
her, Dora. We shall be able to spare her at least 
a hundred a year — ^and in the wilds of Cornwall 
that will buy a good many breakfasts and dinners." 

"You help her I" cried Dora, with a shocked 
look. "You toil in India for my sister and her 
children. No, no ! That would be too unfair." 

"Unfair to help my wife's sister! And as to 
toil, the work I do yonder is work I love. And 
it is a good thing for a man in India not to have 
too much cash. It may mean a Polo pony or two 
less in the year. That's all." 

Dora's cheeks glowed and her eyes shone as she 
looked at him. 

"No wonder I love you," she murmured, with 
her hands clasped in his ; " how noble you are ! 
how generous ! " 

" Because I am willing to help my belongings — 
verily a tremendous hero. Have you any idea 
how many fellows in the East are toiling for those 
they love in the West; for mothers and sisters, 
and young brothers, and maiden aunts? My 
dearest, it won't give me the least trouble to 

s 



258 Under Love's Rule. 

contribute my poor little hundred Part of my 
income comes to me from England, so there'll be 
no loss by exchange. I shall just tell my agent 
here to send your sister a quarterly cheque." 
** Nell would never accept your bounty." 
''Don't call it by such an ugly name. Of 
course she will accept Widows and orphans — 
the wounded in the battle of life — are a charge 
upon able-bodied soldiers. They have to be cared 
for. And your three boys are going to grow up 
into three money-earning men. That fellow Paul 
ought to be a judge of the Supreme Court before 
he's fifty — ^and the eldest would make a very good 
forester. We'll send him to Cooper's Hill. Fluff, 
the spoilt one, shall go to sea. They'll comb him 
down on board the Britannia. There'll be plenty of 
time for us to arrange and settle things before July." 

•'Before July I Oh I Clement, that is what I 
have been wanting to say to you. Our marriage 
must be put off— for three or four years — till your 
next long leave, if— if you care to wait for me." 

" I don't care to wait — I won't wait ! There is 
no reason." 



Kissing the Rod. 259 

"There is, dear; an unanswerable reason. I 
can't leave those boys in their mother's care — 
for three or four years to come." 

"Not in their mother's care? Who can be so 
fit to take care of them as their mother ? What 
can you do for them that she cannot do ? " 

"Ah, you don't know, Clement — ^you don't 
know how helpless she is." 

"She must learn to be helpful. It is her 
business in life to care for her children," Doyle 
answered sternly. " If she is a good woman she 
will very soon learn to do her duty." 

"But not in a few months, Clement There 
will be so little time for learning between now 
and July. She has broken down completely. 
Think of what she has suffered. She saw him — 
she was the first to go to him — ^saw him lying 
dead at her feet — and he had left her half an 
hour before in health and high spirits — and all 
the world was bright with them, as she thought, 
poor thing. And in a moment she knew that 
he was dead — and all was changed." 

She burst into tears, and her sweetheart com- 



26o Under Love's Rule. 

forted her with all those tender words which 
lovers find in hours of sorrow. 

^'My dear love, we are not going to abandon 
her. We are going to stand by her, and do all 
we can for her," Clement Doyle uiged ; " but we 
cannot spoil our life because she is unhappy." 

"We need not spoil our life, Clement I am 
not seven-and-twenty yet I shall not be quite 
an old woman at thirty. And it will be better 
for you, perhaps, to be free and alone in India 
while your great work is in progress." 

Clement swallowed the passionate words that 
rose up at this assertion. It vexed him to know 
that there were a good many people he knew 
who would agree with Dora, and think it to his 
advantage to be without any domestic encum* 
brances while his great work was going on. He 
would be moving about — ^roughing it, living in 
tents. Would it avail him much in the way of 
happiness to have a wife up at the hills all 
through the hot weather? Would not Dora, 
safe in England, be a happier image in his 
mind than Dora at Simla, or at Naini Tal, with 



Kissing the Rod. 261 

all the possibilities of fever, and with the spectre 
of cholera shadowing the scene? No! Those 
bugbears should not come between him and 
happiness ! He wanted to take his wife to India 
with him. The idea of going back alone, the 
renunciation of that enchanting future they two 
had planned in the sunny days at Heatherside — 
the honeymoon tour in August and September, 
through the fair Oberland, and then to Lucerne, 
and across the Gotthard down to the romantic 
shores of Maggiore and Como— to renounce all this 
in order that his betrothed should do the work that 
was her sister's duty, and which ought to be her 
sister's one purpose in life! He had seen too 
little of EUinor Lerwick to know, as Dora knew, 
how unschooled she was in a mother's duties — 
but he had seen enough at Heatherside, and 
heard enough in the careless talk of the boys, 
to know that Mrs. Lerwick was not a model 
mother. She appeared always at her best at 
Heatherside, from the motherly point of view. 
Her Palatine Square habits would have been a 
revelation to Clement Doyle. 



262 Under Love's Rule. 

"Clement, you know how dearly I love you, 
how grateful I am for your love." 

•* Grateful ? No ! no ! " 

" Yes, grateful — ^that you who are so good and 
so clever should care for little insignificant me. It 
was like a fairy tale. Cinderella, sitting by the 
kitchen fire, and sent away in a coach and six 
to shine at the Court Ball, could not have been 
more surprised than I was when you b^an to 
care for me." 

"When I b^an! Why, there was no ban- 
ning. It was always. Yes, Dora, it was like a 
fairy tale. Do you remember the day I came to 
Mill Park? It was afternoon — and you were 
standing at a table at the end of the long 
drawing-room, pouring out tea for everybody — 
so graceful — so gracious — smiling at Sir Henry 
and the curate as they came to fetch the cups, 
talking in a low voice which I could only hear 
as a vague sweet sound in the distance. * What 
little fairy is this?' thought I. Yes, that is the 
very name I gave you, Dora, the first time these 
eyes ever looked upon your fair young face, your 



Kissing the Rod. 263 

sylph-like figure ; and I made up my mind, very 
soon after, that if you were to be won you should 
be my good fairy. And now you talk of deserting 
me — now, when pur pathway through the world 
lies broad and smooth before us 1 " 

" I waited for you, Clement," she said, gravely. 
" I only ask you to wait a few years for me," 

"A few years. Why, our lives will be spent 
in waiting. This little woman talks of three years 
as lightly as if she were proposing a delay of 
six weeks." 

'Element, I am quite in earnest I cannot 
leave those boys till they are older ; till they have 
settled prospects in life; till my sister has quite 
recovered from the shock of poor Tony's sad 
fate, and has grown accustomed to poverty, or 
to making the most of a very small income. All 
that cannot be done in a few months." 

*' But it can in the best part of a year. Sup- 
pose we sacrifice our honeymoon — Switzerland 
and the Italian lakes, the delicious tour we 
reckoned upon — and postpone our marriage till 
the beginning of October; and just go straight 



264 Under Love's Rule. 

away from .Tilbury in the P. and O. Surely that 
would be enough ? " 

"No, no, Clement, not nearly enough," she 
answered, resolutely. ''I have made up my 
mind. When a great calamity comes upon a 
family — as it has come upon us — ^we must kiss 
the rod. I mean to devote the next three years 
of my life to my sister and her children. I 
have no fortune to give them ; but I can give 
them my care, and time, and love. I have been 
with them in their sunshine. I will stop with 
them in their shadow." 

She broke down again just a little, and shed 
some tears at this ; but recovering herself quickly, 
she took Clement Doyle's hand in hers and 
smiled at him as she led him from the room. 

" Come to the schoolroom tea," she said. ** The 
boys are expecting you. Don't be angiy with 
me, Clement I have thought this business out 
in many an anxious hour ; and I know I could 
do nothing less than I am going to do." 

She did not tell him of those quiet hours of 
prayer, in which she had supplicated for guidance. 



Kissing the Rod. 265 

and for the welfare and safety of the lover who 
was to go back to the land of many perils with- 
out her. She did not tell him of the tears she 
had shed over the happy dreams that were not 
to be fulfilled till years had come and gone. 
And who could tell what those unknown years 
might bring? What of disaster or disappoint- 
ment ? 

Clement Doyle's appearance in the schoolroom 
was greeted with loud acclaim by the three boys. 
Each had something to say to him ; each about 
his own business. 

'' I'm not going back to Elstree/' said Eustace, 
"and I'm not going to Harrow or Oxford. 
We're all going to school in Cornwall, where 
Charles Kingsley went" 

"Him that wrote* Water Babies,'" said Fluff, 
eagerly. 

Fluff had come upstairs to tea as a condescen- 
sion, from the hot-house atmosphere of his mother's 
room, where the perfume of stephanotis that had 
blossomed la^t season seemed still to linger in 
the air; or it might be only the association of 



266 Under Love's Rule. 

ideas which filled Ellinor Lerwick's boudoir with 
phantom odours. 

Paul told Mr. Doyle, confidentially, that he 
was going to work for a scholarship; and that 
he meant to go to Oxford and get a first in 
classics ; and then he would go to the Bar. 

''I don't mean my education to cost mother 
much," he said. 

''Let it be the Indian Bar, Paul, and I may 
be able to help you." 

"Yes, you could give me all your disputes 
about contracts and things, and your railway 
bills. I should like to begin one of the languages 
at once, if you'll lend me a Hindustani grammar." 

" I'll do better than that, Paul I'll be your 
Munshi." 

Everybody brightened at his coming — even 
Miss Perry, who was modestly toasting buns 
while Sarah laid the tea-things. The boys 
wondered that they could still have buns, now 
that they were so poor; and then Paul re- 
membered that Auntie had brought those buns 
in a bag from Bond Street, and had most likely 



Kissing the Rod. 267 

paid for them out of her pocket-money* The 
schoolroom, with its low ceiling and common 
furniture, looked much pleasanter to-night than 
the drawing-rooms below-stairs in their melan- 
choly abandonment 

There in the days gone by had been the 
stalled oxen ; here was the lowly dinner of herbs, 
and contentment withaL 

**We are all going to gran'pa's, Uncle Clem," 
said Fluff, when they were seated round the tea- 
table, Miss Perry at the teapot, and Auntie cutting 
bread and butter, whilst the toasted buns frizzled 
in front of the fire. "Are you coming, too ? " 

'' I'm coming as far as Bideford, and you'll see 
me pretty often at Mill Park," answered Doyle. 

" Our shelties are going to be sold," said Fluff, 
as if it were something to be cheerful about 
" I'm rather glad, don't you know, for mine would 
soon have been getting too small for me." 

"Somebody must find a couple of Exmoors 
for you and Paul," said Doyle. 

''Oh, I shouldn't care about that, unless I 
could go out with the Devon and Somerset — 



268 Under Love's Rule. 

and Mill Park is too far from their meets. I 
don't care much for riding unless it's to hounds." 

'' Mother won't be able to keep ponies for us 
ever again," said Paul, *' so there'd be no use in 
beginning. I'm sorry I didn't ride Roderick 
oftener while I had him." 

Clement Doyle's presence among them cheered 
them all somehow. It was a relief to see some 
one who came from the outside world, who was 
not an inhabitant of that melancholy house. It 
was a relief to Fluff to have left his mother's 
room, and her tears and kisses, and to be able 
to prattle about himself, and what was going to 
happen to him — about what he was going to do 
in Cornwall if they went to Helstone, or at 
Bedford, or at Berkhampstead, or at any other 
school which might be ultimately chosen. 

" Auntie isn't going to India never," concluded 
Fluff, triumphantly. "She's going to stay with 
us always." 

** Never and always are words for the great 
Mogul Sensible little boys know better than 
to use them," said Clement Doyle. 



( 269 ) 



CHAPTER XVII. 

NOT WITHOUT FRIENDS. 

There was a great bustle next morning before 
the family got fairly under weigh for Bideford, 
in the South- Western express ; but Aunt Dora's 
responsibilities were greatly lessened by Clement 
Doyle, who took entire charge of Mrs. Lerwick, 
the two dogs, and the luggage, leaving Dora 
free to devote herself to her nephews. Poor 
Mrs. Lerwick left Palatine Square crying silently 
behind her crape veil; but whether she was 
weeping for her husband's tragical fate, or for 
the loss of that luxurious home, and all the 
splendour and gaiety that had been her portion 
under that roof, nobody ever knew. She was 
silent and depressed, submitting to every arrange- 
was made for her sons, but taking no 



270 Under Love's Rule. 

part in the business of their lives. Only now 
and then did she smile, in the course of the 
long journey, and then it was a wan little smile, 
addressed exclusively to Fluff or her dog. 
Perhaps during those few hours Clement Doyle 
came to understand her helplessness and useless- 
ness better than he could have understood from 
an3^hing that his betrothed told him about her. 
He saw that she had to learn all a mother's 
duties, to b^in the alphabet of domestic life. 

A surprise awaited Paul at Waterloo Station, 
where a lady in grey met him on the platform, 
and drew him aside into the obscurity of a 
luggage-weighing office, and hugged him as she 
had never hugged him in her life before. 

"Oh, Miss Warren, I thought you'd forgotten 
me I" 

" Why, I called in Palatine Square every other 
day, Paul, to ask after you and your poor mother. 
Didn't Sarah tell you ? " 

** Not she. If you ever want to keep a secret, 
give it to Sarah, in the shape of a message. 
You may be quite sure it will be as safe as if 



Not without Friends. 271 

it were under the Great Pyramid. I'm glad you 
didn't quite forget us in our troubles." 

" My dear, dear boy ! Trouble has come upon 
you in the morning of your life, Paul ; but trouble 
is a kind of education for the young. It braces 
and strengthens them for the battle of life. You 
are a clever boy, Paul, and I have taken pains 
with you. I think you know that" 

" Yes, Miss Warren. I used to rather hate you 
for making a sap of me, but I'm glad of it now. 
There'll be no Christ Church for me, no Oxford 
or Cambridge, even; unless I can get scholar- 
ships, so as to cost mother hardly anything. 
But I mean to work hard wherever I am." 

"That's my own brave boy! You can get a 
scholarship, and a fellowship by-and-by, if you 
work. It's in your power to do well, my dear. 
You'll write to your old governess sometimes, 
won't you, Paul? I shall be so glad to know 
how you get on. By-and-by, when you're a 
young man in London, a law student, perhaps, 
there'll always be room for you in my house." 

** You're very kind. I always knew you were 



272 Under Love's Rule. 

good, don't you know ; and I'll be sure to write 
and tell you of my prizes, and when I'm pro* 
moted to an upper foroL" 

She gave him a bookseller's parcel. 

** There are three of C^rlyle's books that we 
have talked about, Paul I should like you to 
read them sometimes, and to keep them always, 
as a souvenir of your old governess." 

**I will, Miss Warren; and when I get my 
fellowship, you must come to Oxford and stay 
with me. You'll have to sleep outside, you 
know ; but I can have you in my rooms all day, 
and grub you from the Collie kitchen." 

'' I shall be proud of your success, Paul. Hark, 
there's the bell, and here comes your Aunt look* 
ing for you. The basket is for the journey." 

She put a neatly packed basket into his hand, 
kissed him, and hurried away, as Dora and 
Clement Doyle approached to fetch Paul The 
travellers were all settled in their compartment, 
except Dora and Doyle. 

** What a dear old thing Warren is," said Paul, 
as he and his brothers examined the contents 



Not without Friends. 273 

of the basket, while the train glided out of the 
terminus with slow and stately motion. '' A 
Dundee cake, scones cut open and buttered, 
apples, pears, sandwiches. And all so beautifully 
packed ! " 

^' She's a human being after all," said Stacie. 
" I never should have thought it" 

" Ah, you didn't understand her," retorted Paul. 
"And you didn't understand what she taught you." 

" I didn't try to," replied his brother, bluntly, 
* I hated lessons with her just a little worse than 
in class at Elstree." 

"You'll turn over a new leaf at Helstone, 
Stacie, for mother's sake," said Dora, in a low 
voice. 

''Oh ycSf we're poor now, and I shall have to 
swot. I never could see the fun of rich boys 
being saps." 

" What a nice carriage — and engaged," said 
Fluflf, beginning to pick oflf the label on the 
window. ''And first-class! Paul said we was 
never to travel first-class no more." 

••There's been a mistake, I'm afraid,'* said 

T 



274 Under Love's Rule. 

Dora. "I gave Clement the money for second- 
class tickets. I must owe him a lot." 

"Not a stiver," said Mr. Doyle, blushing and 
laughing a little. "The directors are friends of 
mine. This is a family carriage. First-class 
tickets for second-class fare." 

"I shall always travel in a family carriage/' 
said Fluff, complacently. " I hate cads." 

"Oh, but you're a cad yourself now," said 
Stacie, " and you'll have to put up with them." 

This was one of Stacie's coarse speeches, which 
his mother had been wont to protest against ; but 
she uttered no reproof this morning. She was 
sitting in her comfortable comer, with her back 
to the engine, her head pillowed in a down cushion 
that had been as a grain of sand among the 
manifold luxuries of her morning room. She was 
trying to read the railway novel that Mr. Doyle 
had bought for her ; but between the lines which 
she saw dimly, with eyes tired out by tears, there 
came the vision of the life that was to have been 
in this chill December ; the white villa at Monte 
Carlo, the orange trees in blossom, the sapphire 



Not without Friends. 275 

sea; and, more precious than sky and land and 
sea, the visitors, the luncheons, and evening parties, 
the dances, the gowns she was to have worn ; 
and last, but, oh, not least, not quite the least of 
all, the fond, indulgent husband whose foolish life 
had ended in a flash of despair. 

The boys enjoyed their journey, the country 
through which they were flying was so fair, even 
in its winter aspect The sky was so different 
from the murky roof of London. They had come 
out of the house of gloom, and their hearts were 
gladdened. Stacie's feelings were warm ; and 
Paul's feelings were very deep ; even Fluff was 
sorry for the loss of the father who had never 
spoken an unkind word to his children, and who 
had thought of them about as seriously as if they 
had been a cage of canaries. Yes, all three boys 
were sorry ; but youth is youth, and they enjoyed 
the journey, and the welcome in grandfather's 
comfortable house — quite a shabby house as com- 
pared with Heatherside, and governed by one 
elderly indoor servant, who called himself a butler, 



276 Under Love's Rule. 

but whom Fluff discovered next morning in the 
boot-room cleaning the Squire's top-boots, 

•* Do you clean boots ? " Fluff asked. ** We had 
a young man on purpose. He did nothing all 
day but fill scuttles and clean boots ; and Sarah 
said he was always complaining that he'd too 
much to do. You seem to do everything." 

"I only look to the Squire's hunting things, 
Mr. Fritz. That have been my dooty ever since 
I come to Mill Park." 

" Oh," said Fluff, '* you must be a very useful 
man." 

" I'm not ashamed of that, sir." 

" Ain't you ? Our servants couldn't bear to be 
useful — except Sarah. Sarah's a regular brick. 
She's going to stop with us now we're cads." 

** Now you're what, Mr. Fritz ? " asked Parker, 
horrified. 

" Cads. Now we're poor. It's the same thing, 
don't you know." 

''No it ain't, sir; there's rich cads and poor 
cads ; but a gentleman is always a gentleman. 
Money don't make no difference." 



Not without Friends. 277 

" I'm glad of that, Parker. I thought Mother 
wouldn't be a lady any more — not a real lady — 
now she's had to leave Palatine Square, and now 
that all her furniture's going to be sold. Tm glad 
you think it won't make any difference." 

" Not one little bit, Master Fritz. Your Ma is 
every inch a lady, and would be if she hadn't a 
sixpence. Why, I've waited upon her ever since 
she left the schoolroom, and there never was a 
more helpless young lady. I never knew her lift 
a finger for herself. Now Miss Hampden, she's 
very sweet and nice in her ways ; but she do lean 
to being a little bit common. There's nothing 
she won't put her hand to, I've seen her up with 
a dusting brush and go at the droring-room 
cabinets, if she see any dust on the old Dresden 
china — and having known her from a baby, I've 
made bold to say, 'That ain't your work, Miss 
Dorothea, and I'll let the housemaid have it warm 
for exposing you to the temptation.' But your 
Ma, Master Fritz, well she's a lady to the tips of 
her fingers. I don't believe she could pick up a 
pin with them." 



278 Under Love's Rule. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

SWEET USES OF ADVERSITY. 

The real beginning of the Lerwicks' new life 
came about a month after Christmasf, when they 
migrated a good deal further west, still under 
convoy of Aunt Dora and Clement Doyle, who 
insisted upon sharing in all her more arduous 
duties, declaring to everybody that he enjoyed the 
fun of it, and that it was the best thing that could 
happen to his liver; while to Dora's private ear 
he urged that, like Ruth and Naomi, he would go 
wherever she went, and her people should be his 
people, 

* And it will be hard if you and I can't settle 
your sister and her sons comfortably before next 
September/' said Doyle, " so that you will be able 
to leave them with an easy conscience." 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 279 

No such argument, however tenderly urged, 
would avail with Dora. She had made up her 
mind to a certain act of self-sacrifice ; and nothing 
would turn her from the path of duty. 

" You don't want me to go to India to be un- 
happy there, Clement," she said ; " and I should be 
unhappy if I were to leave the boys before they 
are a few years older, and before their mother 
has had time to grow into her new life." 

How kindly the boys took to that new life ! 
How happy the people whose reverses of fortune 
come to them in their youth, while the human 
machine has the power of readjustment, the com- 
pensating movement which can fit itself to any 
phase of circumstances. Mrs. Lerwick felt the 
martyrdom of poverty in every hour of her 
existence. Her days were full of sharp pin- 
pricks. The small rooms, the coarse linen, the 
common things that met her eye and touch at 
every turn, the smuts and smears on Sarah's 
morning face, everything irritated her. True that 
the carefully-chosen furniture was as pretty and 
artistic as inexpensive things could be, and that 



28o Under Love's Rule. 

Sarah's face and Sarah's cap were spotless at the 
early dinner, which Mother and Aunt now shared 
with the boys, and on the remains of which Sarah 
dined in her little kitchen, looking into the new- 
made garden, where neat borders had been filled 
with the hardy perennials that are the joy of 
homely gardeners. To Mrs. Lerwick's mind, that 
half-acre of garden with its coarse grass and 
herbaceous borders was horrible; for she could 
not look at it without thinking of the grounds 
and glass houses at Heatherside, where four under- 
gardeners had to stroll about vath watering-pots 
and wheelbarrows all day, while three superior 
Scotchmen toiled or meditated in the seclusion 
of hot-houses and potting-sheds. 

But while their mother moaned and remembered, 
the boys took to this new garden as kindly as if 
they had never seen a flower before. They de- 
clared that the grass was just big enough for 
what Stacie called nursery cricket, till Clement 
Doyle suggested bowls, when the mere utterance 
of this magic word was enough to turn all their 
attention to the mighty work of levelling the 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 281 

bowling green under Uncle Clem's supervision, 
Uncle Clem helping in the process himself with 
an energy that would have been creditable in an 
experienced navvy. 

When the ground was made, he was to supply 
the bowls. They would come in time for Stacie's 
fourteenth birthday, at the end of March. They 
had little fear of frost in this far western region. 

While the masculine mind was concentrated 
upon scalping and levelling, and brick-rubbish 
laying, and turfing, the little Auntie was just as 
hard at work on the flower borders, planting bush 
roses and southernwood, and sowing nasturtium 
seed and mignonette.* That cheap glory of orange 
and yellow nasturtium was to spread itself all 
over the low granite wall, a brilliant background 
for the roses ; and at the end of the garden there 
was to be a row of sunflowers, of varieties which 
Dora begged of the cottagers whose acquaintance 
she had begun to make in every direction. And 
the comers were to be filled with marigolds. It 
was to be a yellow garden, Dora told her lover. 

*' My garden in the East will consbt of a single 



282 Under Love's Rule. 

tree," said Clement '' I shall plant a willow and 
sit under it, and think of the cruellest girl in the 
world" 

^ Ah, but you know she isn't cruel," said Stacie ; 
^ she knew us ages before she knew you ; and she 
isn't going to leave us till we're old enough to 
take care of Mother." 

They began their school career after Easter, by 
which time all three, even to the petted Flufl^ had 
accepted small means as if they had been to the 
manner bom. They wore boots that had been 
soled and heeled — sl process they had never heard 
of till they came to Helstone ; they were careful 
of their clothes; they ate the plainest dinners 
with gusto, and never hinted at a wish for any* 
thing better than the boiled rice or cannon-ball 
pudding, the dog-in-the-blanket, or currant dump- 
lings, that varied the second course. Through 
all the deprivation or carefulness of their young 
lives ran the thought of helping Mother. They 
Were brave to bear anything, to do without any- 
^ng, to work their hardest at the dullest lessons. 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 283 

for Mother's sake. Dora had so impressed upon 
them the idea of the great sorrow that had fallen 
on their mother, which nothing but their love 
could lessen. 

"She looks to you for consolation now, and 
happiness in the future," she told them ; " and by- 
and-by, when I am in India " 

"Oh, that will be too horrid for words," inter- 
jected Stacie. 

" She will have only you." 

" Auntie," said Paul, thoughtfully, " isn't it rather 
mean of us to make Uncle Clem go back without 
you ? We ought to be able to take care of Mother 
— ^we three." 

"No, we can't," interposed Fluff; "besides, she" 
— indicating Dora — "makes all the cakes and 
pasties. She mustn't go." 

Dora had developed a talent for cakes and pastry 
since they came to Helstone ; and it was her light 
hand that made the blanket for the jam dog, and 
the crust for the savoury potato pasty, which was 
such a cheap addition to the homely tea. There 
were no late dinners at Fir Tree Cottage— only a 



284 Under Love's Rule. 

composite evening meal which Clement Doyle 
called a thick tea, and pretended to enjoy 
tremendously. 

Fluff was reproved by both brothers as a selfish 
little bq^[ar. 

"We ain't greedy like him, and we don't want 
you to slave at pastry-making, little Auntie/' 
explained Eustace; "but we do want you very 
badly. It would be awful when Mother's low if 
you weren't here." 

Their mother's misery was a far worse ordeal 
for the two elder boys than any trials of their own. 
Ellinor Lerwick was subject to fits of " lowness " ; 
a state of tearful apathy from which it was very 
difficult to arouse her. It was very difficult on 
these low days to persuade her to leave her own 
room ; to get up and dress herself and go into 
the open air ; almost impossible to induce her to 
go out for a walk, though the air and the sky 
and the racing clouds and racing waves and fresh 
odours of newly-ploughed fields offered the very 
finest restoratives for mind and body. It was 
hard work to coax her to sit with them at their 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 285 

meals when she was in this mood, though her 
absence made a painful gap in the small circle. 
The clatter of knives and forks was agony to her* 
If she were upstairs in her own room she would 
ring her bell with nervous vehemence, and send 
Sarah to entreat them all to make less noise. 
Their talk and laughter were torturing her. 

Dora knew that if she were to leave her sister 
before she had risen superior to this sorrowful 
self-indulgence, the boys would be left almost 
entirely to Sarah's ministrations. Their mother 
would just shut herself in her room, and live in 
a low*spirited solitude; broken only by tearful 
interviews with Fluff. No, there was no help 
for it. Till her sister had learnt a mother's duties, 
Dora must stay. Were it seven years instead of 
three, she would serve her apprenticeship to 
adversity, and bear her portion of the sorrow that 
had fallen upon the helpless and weak. 

There was not much weakness about the three 
boys when they made their first appearance in 
Helstone School, after the Easter holidays. The 
Cornish moors, the Cornish sands, the winds that 



286 Under Love's Rule. 

blow over three thousand miles of oceans had 
strengthened the youngest and frailest of them, and 
had developed Stacie into a young athlete. The 
boys had taken kindly to that wild western coast, 
the serpentine caves, the Lizard, with its tall twin 
lighthouses, and great ships for ever passing within 
signalling distance ; ships that told of welcome or 
farewell The boys had begun almost to think 
themselves Cornishmen, and to talk of " All for 
One and One for All " ; and they were proud to 
tell people that their grandfather's family had 
been settled in North Devon ever since the Great 
Rebellion. 

They liked the school Eustace had his own 
ideas of the difference between Elslree and Hel- 
stone ; but he kept them to himself, ^ for mother's 
sake." The other boys could make no com- 
parisons. Paul was delighted to take up his 
classics again. He had been cramming himself 
with English History, and working at French with 
Aunt Dora during the interval Fluff was charmed 
to find himself in a herd of other boys, and excited 
by the novel delights of a playground. Not one 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 287 

regret had Fluff for the velvet nest of his child- 
hood — ^the beautiful room, the shaded lamps, the 
perfume of gardenias, and the frequent entreaty 
to make less noise. Fluff playing games and 
screaming at the top of his shrill young voice, was 
a very different person to the languid child who 
had sprawled on the Persian carpet listlessly 
teasing Spitz, or looking about the room and 
taxing his young invention to discover some piece 
of mischief for idle hands to do.' 

A place had been found for Miss Perry in a 
vicar's family near Clovelly, and it had been 
settled that she was to spend all her holidays with 
the Lerwicks. She had no ** people " of her own, 
or at any rate no people who wanted her for more 
than a week's visit, and she was very glad to know 
that Mrs. Lerwick's house would be her holiday 
home till the boys were grown up. 

" I'm sure I'll work my fingers to the bone to be 
useful to you, Mrs. Lerwick," she said, '' for I do 
love you with all my heart ; " and that was about 
the most energetic speech that little Miss Perry 
had ever made since the Lerwicks had known her. 



288 Under Love's Rule. 

When the summer vacation began Miss Perry 
appeared with a trunk and bonnet-box, and the 
little Auntie disappeared the day after. The boys 
thought the governess a very poor exchange for 
their Aunt; but the pain of parting had been 
lessened by much talk of reunion at the end of the 
holidays, and Dora's nephews agreed that it was only 
right she should go home to be with the Squire for 
a little time. He must have missed her awfully at 
breakfast and dinner — ^the only periods at which 
he wanted feminine society ; for he was out-of- 
doors all day, and spent his evenings in the billiard- 
room reading the papers, or dozing over a volume 
of the Old Sporting Magazine^ to which his father 
had been an occasional contributor. 

There were to be guests at Mill Park. Lady 
Mandeville had brought home a little boy and an 
Ayah, and Sir Henry was to come home in the 
spring, and he and his wife were to go back to 
India the following autumn, possibly leaving the 
little boy with his grandfather, and then, perhaps. 
Miss Perry might be engaged as his governess. 
Dora had this possibility in her mind. 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 289 

Clement Doyle was invited to meet Lady 
Mandeville, and a couple of cousins, male and 
female, were to make up the party. And then in 
September, about the end of the holidays, Clement 
and his sweetheart were to bid each other good- 
bye ; and Dora was to go back to Helstone for the 
winter, while Lady Mandeville stayed at Mill Park, 
to take care of her father at breakfast and dinner. 

All this time Mrs. Lerwick's income had been 
made up for her by voluntary contributions from 
her father and her sisters, of which the widow 
herself knew very little, Dorothea managing all 
financial matters for her. 

" There is no need for you to trouble, dearest, 
till everything is settled," Dora told her. *• When 
the two houses have been sold, and the lawyers 
have paid all the creditors, and made up their 
accounts, you shall know exactly what remains for 
you and the boys. You are not going to be left 
in the dark, Nell. We all want you to be a 
woman of business, and to keep accounts, and to 
manage your income." 

U 



290 Under Love's Rule. 

''I must learn subtraction/' Ellinor answered, 
with a puzzled brow ; " I don't make many mis- 
takes in addition, but I can't subtract To take 
one pound eleven and sixpence from two pounds 
ten! It's horrid having to borrow the eighteen- 
pence. Of course, I must keep accounts, if there 
are any to be kept ; but I dare say when everybody 
has been paid the lawyers will take all that is left, 
and the boys and I will be paupers, dependent 
upon you and Father and the Mandevilles to keep 
us out of the workhouse." 

'' No, no, dearest, it won't be as bad as that ; and 
even if you and the boys were penniless, we should 

all love to help you." 

'' Better than I should love to be helped," the 
widow answered bitterly. 

She threw her arms round Dora's neck, apolo- 
getically, the next minute. 

'' I'm not ungrateful, dear. I'm only miserable," 
she said. 

Happily, there was something left from the 
wreck of Anthony Lerwick's princely income. The 
sale of the bouse in Palatine Square and all its costly 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 291 

contents realized a lai^e sum of money ; for the 
Lerwick china and pictures were sold at Christie's, 
and that passing herd, who had been entertained in 
EUinor Lerwick's golden days, went about London 
talking of those Lerwicks, and the monstrous 
rate at which they had lived, and so advertised the 
sale, and brought a mob of smart people to outbid 
each other for modem Sevres vases and Dresden 
teacups made the year before last, while some of 
the really choice things were bought at sensational 
prices. The Dorsetshire estate also sold better 
than had been expected, since the extension and 
development of Bournemouth had tripled the value 
of the Heatherside home farm, with its frontage to 
the roads between Branksome and Poole. And 
then there were stables and a bachelor's box at 
Newmarket, which Mr. Lerwick had furnished 
before his marriage. There was ''the valuable 
racing stud of a gentleman deceased," and there 
were EUinor Lerwick's jewels, the greater number 
of which were bought by her sisters. Altc^ether 
the breaking up of this fortune produced a large 
sum of money, and after every creditor had been 



292 Under Love's Rule. 

paid in full there remained a balance of twelve 
thousand pounds for the widow, which, invested in 
railway stock of the first quality, would secure her 
about four hundred a year. 

The income would be hers, unfettered by trustees, 
for Anthony Lerwick had made only one will 
since his marriage, and that left everything to his 
wife, without reservation. He had been too deeply 
in love to speculate on the chances of the future, 
too happy in the present to think of death, or of 
change. 

''The capital as well as the income will be in 
your power, EUinor," Mr. Hampden ssud, solemnly, 
when he came to Helstone to explain things to his 
daughter ; ** any folly of yours might make your 
children beggars. If you were to marry again, for 
instance. . • ." 

'' Marry again ! As if there were another man 
in this world like Tony," sobbed the widow. 

That idea of her children's fate being dependent 
upon her had a steadying effect upon Mrs. 
Lerwick's mind. Gradually, as the year wore on. 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 293 

her agony of regret for the splendours of the past 

abated, and all that brilliant life of the London 

season, the visiting and entertaining, the dressing 

and dancing, the perpetual movement and glitter, 

began to seem like a dream she had dreamt, or a 

fashionable novel that she had read. Gradually 

the dim, untried soul awakened to a sense of her 

children's claims upon her, and a just appreciation 

of their love and tender care for her — Eustace so 

bold and brave and eager to protect her ; Paul so 

watchful and apprehensive of anything that could 

worry or pain her ; Fritz so fond and clinging, so 

delicately sensitive of her sorrow. Yes, she told 

herself, in these sons of hers she had treasures 

more precious than her * position " in society, her 

three drawing-rooms, or the dazzling array of her 

silver tables. The things that she had lost were as 

dust and ashes compared with this living love 

which wrapped her round with its gentle warmth, 

this bright white light of brain and heart which 

shone upon her humble pathway. Sometimes, too, 

philosophy, a feminine philosophy, would come to 

the aid of affection and right feeling. ''Even if 



i 



294 Under Love's Rule. 

we had always been rich, J should have grown old," 
she reflected, " I should have grown too old for my 
frocks ; and I should have had to go to balls and 
dinners with scraggy shoulders, and a withered 
throat that all my necklaces could not hide. I am 
almost glad I had to part with my jewels before I 
was old. I have so often laughed at old women 
covered with diamonds, and looking like Egyptian 
mummies." 

Clement Doyle escorted his sweetheart back to 
Helstone when the holidays were over ; and after 
he hlid brought her there it took him nearly three 
weeks to say good-bye. He was resigned now to 
the inevitable. Dora's firmness had conquered 
him ; but he told Stacie in confidence that he, 
Stacie, would have to make haste and grow 
up, as in all probability that engineering job in 
Lahore would get itself finished in two years 
instead of three, and then the little Auntie would 
be wanted. 

** Don't you be afraid," said Stacie. "You've 
acted like a brick in letting her stop with us ; and 



Sweet Uses of Adversity. 295 

Paul and I will do all we can to make Mother's life 
happy ; so that she'll be able to spare Auntie when 
you come back. It was a sell, though, her getting 
engaged ; because we all counted upon her being 
an old maid, and living with us to the end of the 
chapter." 

** And having to put up with the airs and graces 
of her three nephews' wives ! That's apt to be a 
very dull kind of chapter, Stacie. When Dora 
goes out to India with me she'll be a little queen ; 
and grey-headed old Generals and long-headed 
old Civilians will bow down and worship her, and 
the young men at the station will think it a 
privilege to dance attendance upon her." 

** When there are babies she'll have to bring 'em 
home. That's one jolly good job," said Stacie 
waxing malicious. 

* You'll be coming out to us before then, perhaps, 
if you do well at Cooper's Hill," answered Mr. 
Doyle. 

Dora's work prospered. The trees and flowers 
flourished in the Helstone garden. Myrtle and 



2g6 Under Love's Rule. 

jasmine, clematis and wisteria spread their broad 
mantle of colour over the dull grey of the shabby 
stone house ; and pretty little bits of old-fashioned 
furniture and oriental china that could be spared 
from Mill Park made Mrs. Lerwick's drawing- 
room an apartment to be praised by the nicest 
people in the neighbourhood. 

When the boys had been two years at Helstone 
school, and Mrs. Lerwick had exchanged her first 
deep mourning for a simple black gown and a 
neat little black straw bonnet, she had her circle 
of friends, who were as exalted in their rural 
distinction as the smart people who had visited 
her, and looked down upon her, in Palatine Square. 
She had a small circle of friends whose names 
began with Tre, Pol, and Pen, and who had 
insisted upon being kind to Mr. Hampden's 
widowed daughter, and in drawing her as much 
as possible out of her sad seclusion in the small 
grey house near the school Her pale and pen- 
sive beauty, her gentle manners, pleased all the 
nicest people. She was voted *' interesting," and 
was petted by everybody; wondered at and 



Sweet Uses of Adversity, zgj 

lauded for her perfect management of her house 
and her sons. 

''I dare say that pretty little sister helps her 
a good deal," suggested Lady Penlyon to Mrs« 
Trequite. 

** I don't know about helping her ! She plays 
tennis and even cricket with the boys, and is 
more of a tom-boy than one quite likes a person 
of that agQ to be,** replied Mrs. Trequite. 

Whereby it may be seen that Dorothea's devo- 
tion to her sister, and her sister's interests, had 

been so unobtrusively rendered as to have won 
no renown for her in the neighbourhood. She 
was worshipped by all the young men, who told 
each other disgustedly that she was engaged to 
some beggar in India; but the matrons thought 
of her somewhat lightly, as a giddy-pated young 
woman who cared for nothing but golf and 
afternoon tea. 

'^ She is in her glory pouring out tea, with half 
a dozen young men to fetch and carry for her," 
said Mrs. Trequite, the adoring mother of three 
plain daughters; and the feminine high court of 



298 Under Love's Rule. 

justice agreed that it was a great advantage for 
such a frivolous little person to live with that 
sweet serious widowed sister. 

Nobody ever suspected that for the greater 
part of her sojourn at Helstone, Dora had man- 
aged every detail of the family life. 

The time came, happily for them all, when she 
was able to hand over the keys and the account- 
books, and to commit the .welfare of her nephews 
to their mother's hands, knowing that adversity's 
rough lessons had been taken to heart, and that 
the feather-headed Mrs. Lerwick, of Palatine 
Square, had slowly and gradually developed into 
the tender and thoughtful mother of three affec- 
tionate sons. The change in Fluff was no less 
complete than the change in Fluffs mother. 
The conceit and arrogance, which were the growth 
of years of foolish indulgence, had been knocked 
out of him in a month's experience of a rough- 
and-ready public school. Boys whose social 
position he considered immeasurably below his 
own, thrust out a derisive tongue on the smallest 
manifestation of " swagger " or " side " on his part ; 



Sweet Uses of Adversity, 299 

and this vulgar and primitive argument, which 
at first reduced him to tears, was later accepted 
as a challenge to single combat The effeminacy 
of tlie spoiled child gave place to a too ardent 
combativeness, which had to be restrained by 
home influence. And if the rough-and-tumble 
of the plaj^^und cured him of pride and vanity, 
it was home influence — ^the knowledge of his^ 
mother's deprivations — ^that cured him of selfish- 
ness. In those little voluntary sacrifices — so futile 
and so sweet — ^which children make for those^they 
love, he learnt the habit of self-denial ; and the 
Fritz of the second year at Helstone Grammar 
School was a very different boy to the Fluff 
who had sprawled with listless limbs on the 
Indian prayer-rug in Mrs. Lerwick's morning 
room. Poverty teaches in a hard school; but 
when poverty does not mean actual stint, or the 
terror of debt, it is about the best master child- 
hood and youth can have ; and Ellinor Lerwick's 
fatherless boys showed themselves apt pupils, and 
took very kindly to the lesson. 
''It's ever so much jollier here than it was in 



300 Under Love's Rule. 

Palatine Square ; and we get more fun here than 
at Heatherside." 

That was the verdict of the three boys on the 
eve of Dora's departure for Mill Park, a few weeks 
before her wedding-day. Clement Doyle had 
managed to get the big work finished in less 
than three years, and he had come back to claim 
liis bride. The work had been done well, and 
the engineer had considerably improved his posi- 
tion and money-earning power, so that, as Lady 
Mandeville wrote patronizingly in a letter to her 
father, it really was ** a very good match for dear 
little Dora, and a connection that our family has 
no reason to be ashamed of; and I have no doubt 
that Clement Doyle will be able to be very useful 
to those poor boys whom Dora makes such a 
foolish fuss about Of course, they will have to 
rough it, whatever they go in for, and if they 
come out here they mustn't expect life to be a 
bed of roses, any more than it is in England." 



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STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS* 



Miss Braddon's Novels. 



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4. Aurora Floyd. [Legacy. 


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7. Only a Clod. 


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la Lady's Mile. 


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II. Lady Lisle. 


39. Mount Royal. 


12. Captain of the Vulture. 


40. The Golden Calf. 


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41. Phantom Fortune. 


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48. Like and Unlike. 


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49. The FATAt Three. 


22. To the Bitter End. 


5a The Day will come. 


23. MiLLY Darrell. 


51. One Life, One Love. 


24. Strangers and Pilgrims. 


52. Gerard. 


25. Lucius Davoren. 


53. The Venetians. 


26. Taken at the Flood. 


54. All along the River. 


27. Lost for Love. 


55. Thou art the Man. 


28. A Strange World. 


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' * It is really an astonishing performance.** — World. 

"Altogether the book is a remarkable one, even among the finest 
triumphs of this popular novelist's art*'— 5/. Jame^s Gazette 

** The delineation of Hyacinth is the real triumph of a book rich in minor 
successes."— /\i// Mall Gazette. 

'* At the writer's vital touch the past springs into life, fresh and vivid as 
if it were but that of yesterday. It is a captivating book, vibrating with 
colour and life."-~Z^ti^ News, 

'* ' London Pride' is delightful to read, and especially ddigfatful to those 
who like to be snatched away, as by some magical process, out of the 
present into times ' When the World was Younger.' " — Daily Ckrtmicle, 

" It will be plain from the extracts that the story is strong in thrilling 
situations. In addition to the exciting scenes already alluded to, there 
might be mentioned the rescue of Angela and her niece from the secret 
chamber known as the 'Priest's Hole;* and the dramatic account of 
Fareham's trial, where Angela perjures herself to screen the man she loves. 
Some of the descriptive passages, also, are worthy of special attention, 
notably that of the plague-stricken city."— Zi/Mtzr^ World. 

"What would have been the reception of this novel bad it been pub- 
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We fancy that as an anonymous work ' London Pride ' could not but have 
touched the public with the thought, ' Here, indeed, is a new writer who is 
head and shoulders above her contemporaries.* "-^la^gow Herald 

** However, there will be no difference of opinion among those best 
competent to judge. Miss Braddon is a past-master— there is but one 
sex in art-^f the craft of story-telling, and that is evidenced in her latest 
effort, 'London Pride; or, When the World was Younger.*"— i>(ji(r 
Tel^aph, 

** Miss Braddon is undoubtedly a remarkably %'ersatile writer. She has 
established herself easily first in the English novel of intrigue, for no one 
dse ^an weave an intricate plot with so delicate and so adroit a band.**— 
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**Tbe tale of the love of Angela and Lord Fareham is dealt with strongly 
and faithfully ; but this story of the unhappy love of a great*bearted. strong- 



London Pride. 



beaded man for jbl good woman, though a fine exeidse in psychologic 
analysis, pales in interest before the cleverness that can rouse our sympathy 
for the foolish, feather-headed wife, struggling in the throes of her life's 
one passion.*' — Pal/ Mali Gazeite, 

"The glimpses which we get of my Lady Castlemaine and other fine 
ladies of the Court and the kaut monde are fascinating to a degree, and 
had he but possessed the literary gift of construction as does our novelist 
of to-day, we could imagine garrulous, shrewd little Samud Pepys writing 
such a atocy as ' London Pride.' **—^ourt JoumaL 

** We are sure that it will find as many admirers as its author's well-won 
reputation deserves." — Westminsier Gazette 

** The story in itself is one of strong passion and sentiment, which would 
fit any period, and rich enough in incident to be independent of its goi^geous 
surroundings."— ifomf^ Post, 

* * Full of interest alike as a novel and a reflex of Enj^ish life—' When the 
World was Younger.' ^^-^Liverpool Couriir. 

"The story, it goes without saying, is dramatic and of unflagging 
interest, but it is not only in the unravelling of the plot that readers will 
take delight, but in the side4ights on well-known places and persons." — 
Gentlewoman, 

*' Miss Braddon still preserves her admirable versatility iand freshness, 
and in every page of her latest book will be detected that mastery of 
characterisation and descriptive power which have ever been the attributes 
of this clever novelist" — Era, 

** It is a sorrowful, soothing, and delightfiil story."— ^/. James* s Budget, 
*' It has other and higher qualities which demand a meed of admiration." 
—Spectator, 

*' A very vivid and sprightly picture of life in London under Charles II." 
— Standard, 

**At the bead of the list stands Miss Braddon's ' London Pride.'"— 
Review of Reviews, 

* * The tale b foil of movement and vigour. ** —Globe, 

"The version of the Stuart Period is a rare one, and it will vastly 
charm." — Irish Times, 

"The story is told in Miss Braddon's best style." — Weekly Sun, 
London Pride' is full of beauty."— ^/or^ and WMUe, 



«« « 



London: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, RENT & Ca, Ltd. 



Miss Braddon's Novels, 2s. 6d. cloth gilt; 28. picture boards. 



5ons of Fire. 

** If the true ofllce and function of a story is to senre as an anodyne, to take us out 
of the ordinary paths of humdrum existence and make us familiar with elemental 
passions ; i^ above all, its chief feature is not to discuss either a question of meta- 
phyncs or a i»oblem of sex, but to intoxicate us with the heady liunes of romance- 
then we may be indeed thankful to Miss Braddon for having proved once more that 
she is a teller of stories in the old and familiar sense, a weaver of interesting plots, 
lull of characteristic deftness and ingenuity."— i>4u^ TOtgra^ 

" It is told with a charm and power whidi make its interest increase at a n^id 
rate as the story goes on. . . . The author of this story has given many good novels 
to the world, but none more likely to please and charm readers of all tastes."— 

" In point of strong characterisation, continuous interest, and clever development 
of plot, the story is equal to the very best from her gifted pen.**— /V^iMr. 

"'Sons of Fire' will surely commend itself to the very large drde of Miss 
Bmddon's admirers.**— Z/t^/KT/ IVggJtfy Nennpti^, 

*' In * Sons of Fire.* her new novel. Miss Braddon departs from her usual method 
of treatment, and selects new ground for action. We are not taken at once into the 
centre of the web ; and the scene of the most stirring events is a vast region of 
Ceittral Africa, where Englishmen are known as the ' Sons of Fire.* This novel 
may rank with many of its predeoesaocs in sustained interest. The rival suitors of 
Susette— who will be a first favourite among the well-stocked ' garden of giris* whidi 
Miss Braddon has provided for our pleasure— and their several mothers. Lady Emfly 
Garew and Mrs. Womodc, are admirably drawn, while the plot, which comprises a 
strange phyaological problem, is developed with the author^s unfailing power and 
abOity.**— rJfc« WmU, 

"The story is full of exciting situations, which Miss Braddon describes with 
feiwiiUy power* and a vigour and resource which command the reader's attention 
throughout.'' — Luds Mtrcury* 

"All idio are in quest of a story well told and well worth the telling and the 
reading, will there find what they seek." — Preemaais Journal, 

" Miss Braddon has lost none of the skill which won for her loqg ago a pre- 
eminent place among contemporary story-tellers. ' Sons of Fire * is an admirable 
qwdmen of her 9xt.**~^unday Sun, 

"Plot is alwajrs Miss Braddon's strong point, and her skill l»s not failed her in 
' Sons of Fire.' ''^^UmdartL 

" Thirty-five years of literary production have not dulled Miss Braddon's inventive 
power, or deadened her style. Her plot, her characters, the dramatic turn of 
inddents, the power of vivid and startling presentation, are as * taking' as ever in 
this, her latest story. The book is artistically constructed. Our interest in the 
personages is awakened at the outset, the reader's curiosity piqued, at first by 
ritnadons proper to light comedy, but gradually deepening and darkening in 
character till we reach the climax in the final chapters of the book."— ^/nM«i^f4««r 

" Miss Braddon's hand has not lost its cunning. Her devoted readers will find 
the story irresistible."— K^rfctAcrv Post, 



Miss Braddon's Novels, 28. 6d. cloth gilt ; 28. picture boards. 

"How great, then, diould be the power of a norelist. a teller of stories, who 
possesses style, originality, and grammar in addidon to a gift of story-telling which 
has stood the test of a quarter of a century or more^ and remains as indi^ratable as 
ever. Bliss Braddon's latest romance, 'Sons of Fire,' shows no falling off in her fine 
gift of story-telling."— Cmtt/ y^ttmal, 



"If my readers want a 'good novel'— and who does not T— they could not do 
better than order * Soos of Fire."*— ^T^k^vw Daify Rtc^nL 

"The authoress of ' Lady Andley's Secret ' and a host of other novels too numerous 
to namcb is to be congratulated on her latest venture. In fiwt. Miss Braddon has 
never written a better book than the ' Sons of Fire.'"— //?M#nita/ Sptrimg and 
Drmmatic Ndtm, 

'* If^ however, you prefer to unbend your mind with a novel, you cannot do better 
than order the ever-young, inventive, and vigorous Miss Braddon's latest novel* 
* Sons of Fire.' "—TrmtA. 



Thou Art the Man. 



" Without any exception that we can call to mind. Miss Braddon's fictional works 
— the name of whidi is legion— have alwa]rs recommended themsdves to the novel- 
reading public by the intrinsic strength and careful construction of their plots, and 
by the prohision of stirring incident with vdiich the interest of thdr respective 
narratives is sustuned and varied. These salient characteristics of her eariier pro- 
ductions are conspicuously displayed in Miss Braddon's latest story. . . . This 
strange story is told throughout with bright and unflagging spirit**— /\i£^ Tei^gra^ 

** Among the series of novels due to Miss Braddon's pea, none has been more full 
of human interest than ' Thou Art the Man.' " — Morning Pott* 



All Along the River. 

" ' All Along the River ' is one of the most pathetic stories Miss Braddon has 
written. . . . The situation is natural, or, at any rate, quite conceivable, and there 
are not many, even of our latter-day weavers of romance, who could have traced it 
from beginning to end with so much grace and power as the author has brought to 
the elaboration of her idtou'—AUuiutum. 

" In dramatic force and construction ' All Along the River ' will compare not 
unfavourably with Miss Braddon's most popular works ; while in finish and refine- 
ment the book reaches a very high leveL"— vST/. yamettt GuutU, 

"The indefatigable author of 'Lady Audley's Secret* and lo many other old 



Miss Braddon's Novels, 2s. 6d. oloth gilt; 28. picture boards. 

firiends dear to us all loses none of her vigour and ingenuity as her hooks increase 
and mnltq^iy."— ^M««». 

*" All Along the River* shows no falling off on the part of iu writer. From a 
literary point of view it is better than her earlier work, and Tor grace and tenderness 
leaves little to be deured. . . • The story is written with unmistakable power." — 
StamdofxL 

*' Few writers could have told the story of Isola's life so delicately and pathetically 
Braddon."— C<wW Circular, 



The Venetians. 

" The story, it need not be said, is exciting and full of plot, and it is worked out 
with all the ingenuity that the author has taught her readers to expea from her. 
There are nearly all the good features of a Braddonian story in 'The Venetians,' 
amongst them being a remarkable and never-fiuling freshness in the dialogues and 
descriptions, which make a novel by the author of ' Lady Audley's Secret ' invariably 
pleasant reaiding."— ^/A^MruMt. 

'* ' The Venetians ' is almost as good as Miss Braddon's best. It shows her to 
have lost none of her talent for ingenious construction, none of her o^Mcity for 
luxuriant description, none of her power of assimilating the fiashions, the spirit, 
and the jargon of the hour."— 7*fi»«r. 

" The story flows on uninterruptedly, with a skilful manipulation of the stream of 
inddent whidi has come not only from instinct, but from practice. Miss Braddon is 
a much better artist now than she was when die wrote ' Lady Audley's Secret.' "— 
Globe. 

"The plot is exciting, the word.psunting and dialogues are fresh and vivid. The 
drama is evolved with the sldU of an author unrivalled in the art of story-telling." — 
Daily Neun. 

** There is no disguising the practised hand of Miss Braddon. It would be hard 
to compute the many weary brains which have been soothed by her facile and able 
pen. It is marvellous to note the immense strides this writer has made from the time 
when her eariy and powerful fictions showed a certain lack of maturity from the 
literary point of view, to the present time, when she adds her thorough experience in 
the * craft' to those undoubted gifts which would have come to the front in any case, 
but possibly with less of absolute finish and success than the fiction-reading world 
is proud to accord to all she touches, lliat theanthor should be at home in Venice 
is not surpriring— where would not that bright spirit be at home ? And the reader 
is made at home too in a manner that fascinates. ... So 1 leave this most powerful, 
most pathetic, and beautiful work, in whidi the reader will find a thousand charms, 
and on which I have no space to dwell, but of which I am fully sensible."— 
MataeJUtUr Couritr, 



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